Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

President Trump Denies Report That Nearly 3,000 Died In Puerto Rico

President Trump Denies Report That Nearly 3,000 Died In Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico's governor said Tuesday that his administration has adopted new measures to better prepare for a disaster like Hurricane Maria although he warned of limitations given the US territory's economic crisis. As time went by it did not go up by much.

"[Three-thousand] people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".

Another Trump critic, and a target of his tweets, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, tweeted, "Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him".

Offering up a fresh conspiracy theory, he said of the Puerto Rico count, "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".

Earlier this month, the island's governor formally raised the death toll from Hurricane Maria to an estimated 2,975 from 64 following a study conducted by researchers at The George Washington University.

"Casualties don't make a person look bad", Ryan told reporters at a regular press conference, "so I have no reason to dispute these numbers".

And while Homeland Security officials claim a "false agenda" on reports of FEMA disaster relief funding being transferred to ICE, ahead of what's sure to be another devastating storm in Hurricane Florence, it's absurd that this trade-off has to happen at all, or if we're being serious, that ICE as an agency even exists in the first place.

Public health experts have estimated that almost 3,000 people died because of the effects of Maria. The study said the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster.

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This kind of magical thinking isn't new for Donald Trump, but given that Hurricane Florence has already made landfall in the Southeast, his ludicrous comments highlight the incredibly high stakes here. In recent days, Trump publicly lauded his own administration's response to Maria — and privately groused over storm-related news coverage that he saw as overly focused on Puerto Rico, according to two Republican advisers close to the White House who weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Take action: Join the Care2 activists calling for an independent investigation into what went wrong in Puerto Rico.

Some Republicans also criticized the president's tweet. "I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success", he said. Cruz had earlier described the federal disaster response in the U.S. territory a "despicable act of neglect".

"But the President continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility, and the problem is that if he didn't acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of SC and the people of North Carolina", Cruz said.

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, seized on Trump's use of the word "successful" and said in a statement at the time: "No relationship between a colony and the federal government can ever be called "successful" because Puerto Ricans lack certain inalienable rights enjoyed by our fellow Americans in the states". All told, about 1,800 people died in that 2005 storm.

Cruz said she spoke with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Wilmington, North Carolina, Mayor Bill Saffo to "just (let) them know, we know how it feels". He also said he was waiting for Trump to respond to a petition to help Puerto Rico complete work on emergency housing restoration programs and debris removal.

In a second tweet Thursday, Trump cast blame on Democrats, who he said are trying to make him look bad.

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