Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump disputes Milken research estimating Hurricane Maria death toll

Trump disputes Milken research estimating Hurricane Maria death toll

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

An independent study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government had concluded about 3 000 people died. "It's an isolated island that lost its infrastructure and power for a long time, you couldn't get to people for a long time".

One frequent tactic is claiming ignorance: "I haven't read it yet", said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Trump's tweet as he walked away from reporters. This number included deaths that were indirectly related to the storm.

President Donald Trump falsely claimed Thursday that research from the Milken Institute School of Public Health estimating 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria was "done by the Democrats" to "make me look as bad as possible".

And he did this as Hurricane Florence bore down on the USA on Thursday.

George Washington University also counted those who died in the six months following the storm as a result of poor healthcare provision and a lack of electricity and clean water.

"When was it on Hurricane Maria that the people started [dying], was it when the power went out?"

"And I gotta say, man, thank you for helping us". Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, also a native of Puerto Rico, skipped the visit to gather supplies for relief from Hurricane Maria. "I don't think it's bad to say we could have done better in Puerto Rico".

"Casualties don't make a person look bad", House Speaker Paul Ryan said, breaking with the president.

The tweets come after intense criticism of federal help in the region's restoration efforts, so it's not exactly surprising Trump would deign to construe the official death estimate as an attack on him personally.

In this November 15, 2017 photo, some roofs damaged by Hurricane Maria have awnings installed in El Gandúl neighborhood, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Earlier this week, Donald Trump declared his administration's response to Hurricane Maria an "incredible, unsung success".

Researchers, if not Trump, have blamed Maria and aftermath for almost 3K deaths that followed in Puerto Rico.

A defense, with a mistake: While on CNN, Rick Santorum defended the Trump administration's response to Maria, saying that while FEMA plays a big role, the primary responsibility lies with the "country of Puerto Rico".

The tweets were a political grenade for Florida Republicans, who have traveled to Puerto Rico, sought endorsements from the island's officials and otherwise worked continually to court the Puerto Rican vote for November.

In a latest fit of fury, Trump successfully enraged millions of Americans by claiming the nearly 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by two back-to-back hurricanes were fake news.

Puerto Rico's government is run by the New Progressive party, a pro-statehood, Puerto Rico-only party.

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