President Trump on Thursday falsely accused Democrats of inflating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year, rejecting a government assessment that the storm had claimed almost 3,000 lives.
A United States government report published this month concluded that the federal response in Puerto Rico was hampered by a lack of trained staff as well as by major logistical challenges.
The island is still suffering power failures and around 60,000 homes still have makeshift roofs.
The previous official death toll was 64.
Today I was supposed to write about how children in Puerto Rico are still struggling to overcome the trauma of Hurricane Maria, their lives completely changed by the loved ones they lost and the destruction they faced in the aftermath of the storm. He then went on to accuse Democrats of making up the number so that he would look bad.
Some Republicans joined the chorus of criticism.More news: Popular Apple Mac apps allegedly stealing users' browsing histories
"I have no reason to dispute those numbers", he added. Trump didn't think it was accurate. He was reacting to President Donald Trump's tweets that dispute the projected death toll from Hurricane Maria a year ago.
Nelson also weighed in, calling Trump's contention "shameful". Koch network's new super PAC Congress just failed our nation's veterans when it comes to medical marijuana Dems launch million digital ad buy in top Senate races MORE (D-Fla.) and DeSantis is running to replace him as governor.
Trump tweeted Thursday as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas. That led the cable news coverage that evening.
"The official count, as I understand it, is 3,000 people died as a result of that hurricane".
"You know, 3,000, six, 18". That's actually lower than the estimate published by Harvard researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine - 4,645 - but it still puts Maria's death toll on a par with 9/11, whose 17th anniversary we just commemorated. "What's going on is the president is doubting the death toll", Tapper schooled Urbin.
Puerto Rico's government, which is neither Republican nor Democratic but run by the pro-statehood New Progressive party, accepted the 2,975 number as a legitimate estimate of the storm's true toll.More news: Trump administration to threaten ICC judges with sanctions, prosecution
His comments run counter to how many locals and experts have assessed the federal government's response. After the total was revised August 28, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement in which she did not actively dispute the revised figure.
"Our results show that Hurricane Maria was a very deadly storm, one that affected the entire island but hit the poor and the elderly the hardest", the statement read.
Every time we switch our focus off the island itself and onto Trump's political rhetoric about the island, we do a disservice to the people of Puerto Rico.
Trump maintained as recently as Tuesday that his response to the storm was an "incredible unsung success".
Hurricane Maria hit past year as the Trump administration was feeling positive about the handling of massive hurricanes in Florida and Texas. It added that the study "was carried out with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference". Those were not needed during the response phase and were not distributed by the governor of Puerto Rico or FEMA for that reason'.
Next week, we'll have some stories about how Puerto Rico has yet to recover.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat, said the president was "delusional".More news: Florence Now A Major Category 4 Hurricane
Maria destroyed Puerto Rico's electricity grid, leaving the island largely without power for weeks and crippling its health care system.