Trump rejects Puerto Rico hurricane death toll

Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday to lambast an official report on Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria a year ago, accusing Democrats of inflating the number of deaths. Trump said there were "6 to 18 deaths" shortly after the storm hit Puerto Rico in 2017. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", he wrote.

George Washington University researchers are standing by their study that concluded the death toll following Hurricane Maria was 2,975.

As the southeastern USA coastal states now face a looming threat from fast-approaching Hurricane Florence, Trump has for days revisited the US government's performance in handling the aftermath of Maria's stunning blow to Puerto Rico and other hurricanes that hit the USA mainland past year.

The 3,000 number is an approximation from a George Washington University study that estimated how many "excess deaths" occurred as a outcome of Hurricane Maria, rather than as a result of the normal life cycle on the island.

It was that number on which Puerto Rican authorities based their official tally. "Our basic infrastructure was devastated, thousands of our people lost their lives and many others still struggle".

They said the study had been commissioned by the Puerto Rico government and was carried out "with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference".

Trump then blamed Democrats for the figures, "to make me look as bad as possible". "Those are just the facts of what happened".

Earlier this week, Donald Trump declared his administration's response to Hurricane Maria an "incredible, unsung success".

In January, Cora led a Red Sox delegation to Puerto Rico to distribute aid.

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Gidley says Trump directed the administration to provide unprecedented support to the island before, during and after two hurricanes hit Puerto Rico.

Trump kept tweeting about the death toll on Thursday, as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolinas.

Flattened homes on the island of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Florence began battering North Carolina on Thursday night, beginning an onslaught that will provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency a chance to fix its bruised reputation following the federal response to Hurricane Maria.

"I still cry. Every time I talk to someone about it, it's still hard for me", Garcia said.

She also said Trump was trying to bully Puerto Rico with his tweets and called him "delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality". We are public health people.

There has been no evidence to indicate that partisan politics has played a role in the calculation of the death tally, and George Washington University released a statement Thursday that said it stands by its work.

DeSantis' statement did not mention Trump by name, but his campaign's decision to come out against the President's view was particularly noteworthy given the candidate openly courted Trump during his primary campaign and has commended him countless times.

"I hate that people make it a political issue", Cora said before Thursday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

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