The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Trump claims Democrats inflated Maria death count in Puerto Rico

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 9/13/18, 01:22 pm

Amid growing concerns about Hurricane Florence lingering off the Atlantic coast, President Donald Trump Thursday morning rejected the official death count resulting from the devastating hurricane that struck Puerto Rico last year. The president said that the reported number of people who died in the U.S. territory due to Hurricane Maria was inflated by Democrats, who he claimed included unrelated deaths.

Trump tweeted that “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” adding that there were only between six and 18 deaths when he arrived after the storm, and the media only began reporting large numbers much later. “That 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 rebuilt Puerto Rico,” he followed up in a second tweet.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Roselló raised the death count from 64 to 2,975 last month following an independent study of the storm’s aftermath. In a Facebook post in Spanish, Roselló said he accepted the numbers offered by the experts who conducted the study, adding, “The victims of Puerto Rico, and the people of Puerto Rico in general, do not deserve to be questioned about their pain.” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a Democrat who has often clashed with Trump, tweeted in response, “Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him. NO IT IS NOT.”

Some Republicans also questioned the president’s statement, including House Speaker Paul Ryan: “Casualties don’t make a person look bad. So I have no reason to dispute those numbers.”


Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. Follow Rachel on Twitter @Rachel_Lynn_A.

Read more from this writer


  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 09/13/2018 03:08 pm

    Puerto Rico has been plagued by corruption in the ranks of its leadership.  Like in many third world nations, the ill effects of natural disasters are greatly magnified by incompetence and by placing too much priority on political agendas. Also like third world countries, the leaders attempt to deflect blame to some other party. In this instance, President Trump. 

    Yes, we feel for the suffering of the People of Puerto Rico. We also recognize that until they themselves demand better from their leadership, there is only so much outsiders can do. 

  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Thu, 09/13/2018 07:13 pm

    Who is blaming Pres. Trump?  Mayor Cruz said it has nothing to do with him.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 09/13/2018 08:33 pm

    Do a little bit of an internet search and you will find that President Trump has been blamed for allegedly poor, inadequate, or slow US response, starting within a few days of the second storm. 

  • Jason B. McQuitty
    Posted: Thu, 09/13/2018 10:43 pm

    How do you have that big of a discrepancy?  I mean 64 to almost 3000?!  Wow

  • BostonSteve
    Posted: Fri, 09/14/2018 10:53 am

    I believe its a discrepancy between deaths caused directly by the hurricane during the event, and death related to the problems caused by the hurricane that took place after the event.