Trump: Democrats Made Up Death Toll in Puerto Rico

'3000 did not die,' he writes
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2018 8:40 AM CDT
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President Trump is disputing the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – President Trump isn't just disputing the hurricane death toll in Puerto Rico, he's accusing his political enemies of making up a higher number. "3000 people did not die," Trump tweeted Thursday. The reference is to the latest estimate, commissioned by the territory's government, that 2,975 died as a result of Hurricane Maria. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers," Trump wrote. "This 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 rebuild Puerto Rico," he continued. "If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!"

Trump is calling into question how the study by George Washington University calculated the number. GWU researchers looked at the six months after Hurricane Maria, from September 2017 to February 2018, and found 2,975 "excess deaths" when compared to a typical period, explains the Washington Post. Lack of access to medical care, along with shortages of water and power, were seen as contributing to the higher number. Trump also raised the issue on Wednesday, boasting of his administration's "incredible, unsung success" in its response to Maria—a sentiment that territory officials disagreed with. (All of this comes ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall in North Carolina.)

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