Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

President Donald Trump claims hurricane Maria death toll rose 'like magic'

President Donald Trump claims hurricane Maria death toll rose 'like magic'

"Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!".

President Trump is pushing back at media claims that his administration's lackluster response to Hurricane Maria helps explain the devastating death toll in Puerto Rico.

They're counting deaths which took place five months after the storm had passed.

The mayor of Ceiba, Angel Cruz Ramos, told CNN he's grateful for the generosity, but believes that too much water was delivered at the wrong time.

"If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them on to the list", he tweeted.

While some Republican lawmakers have distanced themselves from the president's comments on Puerto Rico and the death toll, others say they understand his frustration with lingering criticism.

In recent tweets, Donald Trump has questioned the legitimacy of these death toll numbers, accusing Democrats of lying to make him look bad.

"When was it on Hurricane Maria that the people started [dying], was it when the power went out?"

"Although you don't believe it... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages", posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures.

Maria hit on September 20, walloping the island just 14 days after Hurricane Irma had struck a glancing blow.

"I disagree with @POTUS", Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, said on Twitter.

Trump will TEXT almost every cell phone in the country next week
FEMA also assured people that it can't track cell phone users' locations through the alert system. "No action is needed". At about the same time on September 20, FEMA will also run a test of the Emergency Alert System on television and radio.


The adjustment of the official death toll followed almost a year of campaigning by journalists, activists and academics to get the government to officially acknowledge the scale of devastation because 64 people was always considered an underestimate.

In August, George Washington University released a study estimating that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria.

"I mean, at what point do you recognize that what they're doing is a political agenda, couched in the nice language of journalism?"

Bahamonde said FEMA made a decision to move the bottled water to the runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, and make them available on a government contract in January, as demand for the water from the Puerto Rican government decreased.

Puerto Rico's government, which is neither Republican nor Democratic, but run by the New Progressive party, a pro-statehood, Puerto Rico-only party, accepted the 2,975 number as a legitimate estimate of the storm's true toll.

"Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him".

"I don't know who picked the number 3,000", Graham said.

As Business Insider noted, Trump has been angry that what he saw as a generous gesture is being portrayed as insensitive to the destruction that the hurricane brought to Puerto Rico.

In addition to force of the hurricane itself, many people died because disease and infection due to the lack of electricity and drinkable water on the island. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who spent part of his youth in Puerto Rico, spoke on the House floor in front of a printout of the Puerto Rican flag, saying Trump is "delusional" and incapable of "empathy or basic human decency".

"We stand by the science underlying our study", the statement said.

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