Trump denies 3,000 Puerto Ricans died due to Hurricane Maria, blames Democrats

Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images

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.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump tweeted, referring to a recent study that significantly expanded the United States government's initial assessment that 64 people died when Hurricane Maria battered the island last September.

Mr Trump said people who died for any reason - "like old age" - had been added to the total.

'When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3,000".

Trump's tweet came as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolina coast.

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: "The world has seen, and the majority of the American people have seen, how neglectful he was towards the people of Puerto Rico". She called the comments part of Trump's "theater of the absurd". All told, about 1800 people died in that 2005 storm.

The study says the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster.

The agency said it also stopped distributing water at that time because "commerce was coming back" to Puerto Rico and officials "didn't want to injure the economy more than it already was".

In fact, by the time Trump got on his plane to return to Washington, that official death toll had already doubled.

Puerto Rico didn't restore power across the island until last month, meaning some residents on the island lacked power for almost a year after the hurricane.

"We will never apologize for erring on the side of having too much of a commodity in a place, because that's what we're supposed to do", he said. 'I think Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success, ' he claimed.

Maria hit previous year as Trump was feeling positive about the handling of massive hurricanes in Florida and Texas and hoping to use those efforts to stem a tide of negative press.

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump suggested, via Twitter, that Democrats had inflated the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.

No one suggests that Trump was primarily responsible for the deaths in Puerto Rico.

"I don't think that's fair", said Huntsman, who added she also didn't think it was fair to compare Trump's action's to those of a dictator, something that was mentioned on the previous day's show.

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