Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

White House Defends Trump on Puerto Rico Death Toll Claim

White House Defends Trump on Puerto Rico Death Toll Claim

The Puerto Rican government recently raised the official death count from the awful storm and aftermath to almost 3,000, but Trump cast doubt on that figure, claiming the Democrats inflated the number to make him look "as bad as possible".

This "issue" was not on my radar until one of my kids texted in a family chat: "Is trump off his rocker with this Puerto Rico death toll stuff?" "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", the president tweeted this morning.

CNN political commentator and frequent Trump critic Ana Navarro unloaded on the president's tweets regarding the death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria past year.

But on Thursday, Trump clarified his rationale for considering the hurricane response a triumph of disaster management: Hurricane Maria killed (at most) 18 Puerto Ricans - all those other deaths were fabricated by the Democratic Party to make Donald Trump look bad. But I think this is more than politics.

Cora said that while Trump is president and respects him, he doesn't agree with "a lot of stuff that he says about us".

"If (Trump) doesn't learn from his mistakes, he's going to make them again and people are going to continue to die", she told CNN television.


Some of Trump's critics denounced his latest tweets and statements on how he handled the response to Maria nearly a year ago.

It was that number on which Puerto Rican authorities based their official tally. "We are professionals of public health".

Colbert claimed that bad news of the GW study was pushed off the front pages by other Trump bad news.

San Juan mayor and frequent Trump critic Carmen Yulín Cruz tweeted in response to the president, "This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch".

Former Vice President Joe Biden mocked Trump's baseless claim, and the study's authors stood by their work, calling it "the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date".

"The job that FEMA, and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous", Trump added.


Another study carried out by Harvard University and published in May estimated the death toll from the hurricane and its aftermath could have been higher than 4,600.

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

Yet, Trump insisted Hurricane Maria was an "unsung success" and the revised death toll was some ploy by Democrats to undermine him.

Cora did credit the president for making a visit to Puerto Rico after the storm.

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

Stephen Lawson said DeSantis "has always worked to help the Puerto Rican community", and the former congressman representing Volusia and Flagler counties held a House oversight hearing earlier this year to identify deficiencies in the federal response to Hurricane Maria.


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