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.”
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