President Donald Trump on Thursday denied Puerto Rico’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria, and claimed that Democrats inflated the figures.
According to the government of Puerto Rico, an estimated 2,975 people died as a result of Maria. This approximation came from a study conducted after the storm at the request of the government, and after the government was forced to admit that the initial death toll didn’t take into account the thousands of deaths reported in the months after the storm hit, far more than usually occur in that same period.
Hurricane Irma, which killed far fewer people but caused more than a million to lose power, hit the territory just two weeks before Maria.
“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “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 continued in a second tweet:
“.....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!”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz wrote in response to Trump on Twitter: “This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!”
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