Trump calls Puerto Rico hurricane response 'an unsung success,’ despite thousands of deaths
14 September, 2018, 06:03
In Florida, which was badly hit by Hurricane Irma previous year and which received thousands of Puerto Ricans fleeing the devastation of their homes, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis - who has built his campaign around his adherence to Trump's politics - tried to distance himself from the president's words.
As Hurricane Florence bore down on the U.S. Thursday, President Donald Trump angrily churned up the devastating storm of a year earlier, disputing the official death count from Hurricane Maria and falsely accusing Democrats of inflating the Puerto Rican toll to make him "look as bad as possible".
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a veteran Republican congresswoman from Florida, said Trump "has a warped mind that would turn this statistic into fake news".
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".
"I really don't know the number of deaths but it is certainly more than 16 whatever the initial reports were".
Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring from Congress after 13 terms says people in the White House need to tell him that "the emperor has no clothes occasionally". I mean, it's an alternative universe, so they are never going to hear about this.
Puerto Rico's governor last month raised Maria's official death toll from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found that the number of people who succumbed in the sweltering aftermath had been severely undercounted.
Trump bristled at criticism of his administration's handling of the Puerto Rico disaster as Hurricane Florence approached the coast of North Carolina with heavy rains that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the US southeast.
"Casualties don't make a person look bad", Ryan said. 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. Puerto Rico upped its official estimate to 1,427 in a July draft report.
The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital accused Trump of being "delusional".
And FEMA Administrator Brock Long has said FEMA made changes to some of its priorities and procedures.
Trump on Thursday rejected the official death toll in Puerto Rico from the September 2017 storm, tweeting "3000 people did not die".
The death toll from Maria, the most powerful storm to hit there in nearly a century, was raised last month from 64, a number widely discounted as far too low, to 2,975. He is doubling down on his absurd and offensive suggestion that his response to Hurricane Maria past year was "incredibly successful". In response, representatives from the GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health said they stand by their science, and "are confident that the number - 2,975 - is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date".
"Damn it: this is NOT about politics this was always about SAVING LIVES".
When a reporter asked Trump about Maria in the Oval Office, he swiftly unleashed fact-challenged defense of his response to the hurricane.
Puerto Rico's governor raised the USA territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found the number of people who succumbed in the aftermath had been severely undercounted.
His comments run counter to how many locals and experts have assessed the federal government's response.
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