Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Denies Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria Death Toll

Trump Denies Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria Death Toll

The Republican president said Democrats had inflated the number of dead in Puerto Rico "in order to make me look as bad as possible" but he did not provide evidence.

The 3,000 figure comes from a report commissioned by the government in Puerto Rico and published by the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health last month. More than 100 people died as a result of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

Rick Scott: Florida's Republican governor tweeted that he disagreed with Trump. He says, "Then, like magic, '3000 PEOPLE KILLED'".

Late night show hosts like Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert used their media platforms to call out Trump's appalling and deeply insensitive response to the deaths that accumulated in wake of the storm.

Of course, the 2,975-person death toll from Hurricane Maria was not a Democratic ploy to hurt Trump. Privately, some White House officials were exasperated with the president's focus on Puerto Rico at a time when Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Carolinas and other coastal areas. But Trump, whose efforts to help the island territory recover have been persistently criticized, has repeatedly questioned that number over the last couple of days. This is what I know to be true: Every publicly released study that looked into the island's death toll after the storm has concluded that it far exceeded the government's initial numbers.

"Some extra people will have died of old age earlier than they would have if there'd been no hurricane". The study also examined mortality rates during the period after Hurricane Maria, and compared them to the same time period over the previous seven years.

Today I was supposed to write about how children in Puerto Rico are still struggling to overcome the trauma of Hurricane Maria, their lives completely changed by the loved ones they lost and the destruction they faced in the aftermath of the storm.

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"Puerto Rico was incredibly successful", Trump said on Tuesday, adding that the island was fraught with issues prior to the hurricane.

Trump tosses rolls of paper towels like basketballs to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Trump on Thursday morning tweeted he believed between six and 18 people died as a result of the storm that struck the island as a Category 4 hurricane.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it has spent billions of dollars in Puerto Rico, restoring power and helping with property repairs and a massive cleanup.

Almost a year after Hurricane Maria barreled across the Caribbean and devastated Puerto Rico, the island has become the focal point of a stormy political debate involving Congress and the White House over how the Trump Administration responded to the disaster.

However Trump implied the death toll was revised for political reasons.

Puerto Rico's government is run by the New Progressive party, a pro-statehood, Puerto Rico-only party.

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