Politics: Trump claims 3,000 people didn't die in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, accuses Democrats of inflating the number to make him 'look as bad as possible'

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President Donald Trump blamed Democrats for the "really large number" of deaths reported in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria last year, saying that "3000 people did not die," despite a government-funded study finding similar numbers.

  • President Donald Trump said "3000 people did not die" in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year.
  • He said in a tweet on Thursday morning that when he visited the island following the hurricane last year the death count was much lower.
  • A study commissioned by the Puerto Rico government released in late August found that 2,975 people died in the wake of the storm.
  • The Trump administration has received harsh criticism for the way it responded to the hurricane.
  • Trump blamed the high death count on Democrats, saying they inflated the number to make him "look as bad as possible."

President Donald Trump blamed Democrats for the "really large number" of deaths reported in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria last year, saying that "3000 people did not die," despite a government-funded study finding similar numbers.

Trump said in a tweet on Thursday morning that when he visited the island following the hurricane last year, the death count was much lower.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," he said. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…"

He then added: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!"

Trump visited the island and evaluated relief efforts after Hurricane Maria hit the island. His visit came after local officials in Puerto Rico, including San Juan Mayor Carmin Yulín Cruz, argued he was not doing enough to help.

The initial official death toll recorded that 64 people were killed as a result of the hurricane, but reports of many more deaths than that poured in the months after the hurricane. A government-funded study later found the number to be much higher.

The study commissioned by the Puerto Rico government released in late August found that 2,975 people had died in the wake of the storm. It found that Hurricane Maria was the second deadliest storm in US history.

A separate study published in August found that 1,139 people died in hurricane-related deaths, and the authors called that estimate "conservative."

In a tweet responding to Trump's claims on Thursday, Yulín Cruz hit back.

"This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch," she said. "YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!"

Earlier this week, Trump faced criticism after boasting about his administration's efforts in Puerto Rico, saying they were "incredibly successful."

"It was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about," he said.

His comments came as Hurricane Florence approached the east coast. The storm was downgraded from a category 4 to a category 2 on Thursday, but forecasters are still predicting devastating flooding across the Carolinas from storm surge and heavy rains.

Source: Pluse ng

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