'Incredibly Distasteful': 'Outnumbered' on Trump Casting Doubt on Hurricane Maria Death Toll

Sep 14, 2018, 19:13
'Incredibly Distasteful': 'Outnumbered' on Trump Casting Doubt on Hurricane Maria Death Toll

President Donald Trump said Thursday he doesn't believe 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico previous year as a result of Hurricanes Maria and Irma - a claim that drew swift criticism from members of both parties.

As Hurricane Florence approached the Carolinas, the president picked a fresh fight over the administration's response in Puerto Rico, tweeting: "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths".

The death toll in Puerto Rico had been officially recorded as 64 for almost a year, despite convincing evidence that the figure was too low because official death certificates had failed to take into account the long-range impacts of the storm.

In fact, the Puerto Rico numbers were collected over months by researchers at George Washington University's school of public health, at the request of the territory's governor.

"You keep thinking Trump's vileness and dishonesty has lost its power to shock, then he takes it to a new level", Noble Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote on his Twitter feed, following the Trump death toll denials.

"I think these statements make him illegitimate as a president of the United States", she said.

"This is a devastating storm that hit an isolated island".

A FEMA administrator said the bottles, pictured on pallet after pallet on a Puerto Rican runway and covered in blue plastic, were deemed surplus.

Before the government-commissioned GWU study, many independent investigations also found the Hurricane Maria death toll to be in the thousands.

There has been no evidence to indicate that partisan politics has played a role in the calculation of the death tally, and George Washington University released a statement Thursday that said it stands by its work.

But Ryan said, "Casualties don't make a person look bad".

"The Coalición de Boricuas en Minnesota was literally started by texting, 'Have you heard from your family?' and we got started trying to do something", Franzen said.

If the new figures are accurate, Hurricane Maria is the deadliest storm to have hit Puerto Rico since the 1899 San Ciriaco hurricane.

In response, the Mayor of Puerto Rico's capital San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, tweeted: "Mr Trump you can try and bully us with your tweets BUT WE KNOW OUR LIVES MATTER".

A clear pattern emerged from the analysis: The mortality rate spiked in the months after the storm, particularly in the poorest areas of Puerto Rico, and among elderly males. "It's just what happened". "But I don't agree with a lot of stuff that he says about us".

Katie Pavlich said there can be valid questions about how death tolls are determined and whether the federal or local government is more responsible, but that's an argument for another time.

Trump then blamed Democrats for spreading the death toll, saying it was a political move to make him look "as bad as possible". "Now we know why he's so orange, his brain is just melted pumpkin guts". "The loss of any life is tragic". "I said it and I'll say it again".

"The US government's response in Puerto Rico fell far, and tragically, short". He added that it shouldn't be a political issue.

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