Trump Denies Revised Death Toll in Puerto Rico...Cue the Outrage

14 September, 2018, 18:23 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Thursday he doesn't believe 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico past year as a result of Hurricanes Maria and Irma - a claim that drew swift criticism from members of both parties.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump tweeted, claiming, without evidence, that the numbers were inflated. As time went by it did not go up by much. They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila!

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump wrote as Americans prepared for Hurricane Florence.

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

Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the U.S., is home to some 3.3 million people. "Our basic infrastructure was devastated, thousands of our people lost their lives and many others still struggle".

Trump's praise on Twitter for his handling of the government's recovery operations on Puerto Rico came after he told reporters that the rescue effort there was an "incredible, unsung success".

Trump then added that the high death toll was a result of Democrats trying to make him look bad. "It's just what happened".

Florence was to be the first major test of FEMA since its response to the Puerto Rico disaster, which was widely criticised.


Trump is seemingly ignoring the aftereffects of the storm in his tweet and focusing only on deaths attributable to things like flying debris, drowning and structures that collapse.

Cora, who is Puerto Rican, called the comments "disrespectful".

Hostin blamed the Jones Act, saying it allowed the USA government to "pillage and rape" the island since its inception in 1920, before asking why Trump didn't have an equal reaction to Maria as President Obama did to Haiti, which isn't even a US territory.

"I agree I've made mistakes", Rosselló said.

At 6:17 a.m., Andrew Gillum, the Democrat running for Florida governor, tweeted: "No death is partisan and our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico deserved better from @realDonaldTrump before, during and after the hurricane".

After Donald Trump accused Democrats of fabricating the Puerto Rico hurricane death toll of almost 3,000, reaction from politicians, the media and online was swift and sharp.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who publicly pleaded with Trump for a stronger response to the storm, also blasted the president.

"I think these statements make him illegitimate as a president of the United States", she said. He added that it shouldn't be a political issue. Puerto Rico finally accepted the conclusion of an independent report on hurricane-related deaths, conducted by George Washington University, last month.

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