Trump disputes Hurricane Maria death toll in Puerto Rico

14 September, 2018, 16:13 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images

He also said the Democrats were "trying to make [him] look bad" by reporting the high numbers of deaths.

"I have no reason to dispute those numbers", Ryan added.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", he wrote.

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

"Only Donald Trump could see the tragedy in Puerto Rico and conclude that he is the victim", said Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

But just after he left Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello updated the death toll to 34, almost doubling it, saying 19 people died as a direct result of the storm and the others died as an indirect result.

"I disagree with @POTUS", Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, said on Twitter.

In August, George Washington University released a study estimating that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria.

Trump had earlier said the reported death tolls from the storm that devastated Puerto Rico were exaggerated, and included older people and others who died. "Direct" deaths include such fatalities as drownings in a storm surge or being crushed in a wind-toppled building.

Studies estimated the death toll ranged from 800 to more than 4,600.

"We stand by the science underlying our study", the statement said. The death toll is drawn from multiple scientific studies.

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For much of the past year, the government had formally acknowledged just 64 deaths from the hurricane, which ravaged much of the territory and destroyed critical infrastructure. We are committed to the health of the population.

"The aftereffects, people don't talk about that", he said.

The federal response to the storm has been criticized, particularly in contrast to the relief effort in Texas following Hurricane Harvey. But the slow federal response in Maria dimmed that hope.

But Trump, that official said, was unwilling to admit even internally that more needed to be done on the island.

The official death count increased months after the storm because the government of Puerto Rico originally did not acknowledge counts from news outlets investigating the impact of the storm.

Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló admitted the government made mistakes handling the storm but he insisted it was not due to political considerations. Rossello officially updated the island's death toll with the new information.

Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring from Congress after 13 terms says people in the White House need to tell him that "the emperor has no clothes occasionally".

Republican response was largely muted. 'I think Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success, ' he claimed. His family, including twin boys born 14 months ago, was on the island when Hurricane Maria hit in September.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a frequent critic of Trump, was appalled by his latest message.

Cora, who is Puerto Rican, called the comments "disrespectful". "It wasn't because this president doesn't care about Puerto Rico".

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