Donald Trump disputes Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria death toll, blames Democrats


U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected a scholarly study that concluded almost 3,000 people were killed past year by Hurricane Maria on the island territory of Puerto Rico. As time went by it did not go up by much.

The official death toll has been contested since the hurricane struck in the fall of 2017.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump wrote as Americans prepared for Hurricane Florence.

The George Washington University study, requested by the governor of Puerto Rico, examined an unusually long period of time following the storm in an attempt to detect the hurricane's lingering, indirect effects on mortality. You should never be content with everything we did.

Trump's tweets - which came as a highly unsafe Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolinas - misrepresented the nature of the study and were harshly criticized by Democrats in Congress, as well as by some Republicans.

Ryan said the numbers were "a function of a devastating storm that hit an isolated island", and added, "that's no one's fault". "Ron is focused on continuing to help our Puerto Rican neighbors recover and create opportunities for those who have moved to Florida succeed".

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he saw no reason to dispute the numbers found in the GWU study.

Had the GWU researchers done what Trump claimed they did - attributing any death to Maria - the six-month death toll from the hurricane would have been 16,608.

"This study, commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico, was carried out with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference", the university said in a statement.

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Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of Puerto Rico's capital San Juan and vocal critic of Trump, tweeted her dismay at his latest offensive.

In January, Cora led a Red Sox delegation to Puerto Rico to distribute aid. "That is just what happened".

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

It was the second time this week that the president had made outlandish claims about Puerto Rico, which also engendered a furious response. Sen. "I think it's about a country that really suffered", Cora said.

He added in a tweet: "The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching".

Trump has previously said his administration's handling of the storms was "an incredible unsung success".

The president argued the report puts the death tolls of 3,000 was done by Democrats to make him look bad.

Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rosselló, on August 28, hiked the number of fatalities from Hurricane Maria to 2,975. Puerto Rico upped its official estimate to 1,427 in a July draft report.

"I hate that people make it a political issue", Cora said before Thursday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.