Trump, without evidence, rejects Puerto Rico hurricane death toll

Massive stockpile of bottled water found in Puerto Rico a year after Maria

In a report released last July, FEMA admitted it was insufficiently prepared to handle multiple hurricanes in a short amount of time - Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean two weeks before Hurricane Maria.

He said: "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths".

The Republican president suggested the hurricane death toll was artificially boosted by adding those who had passed away from natural causes such as old age.

A defense, with a mistake: While on CNN, Rick Santorum defended the Trump administration's response to Maria, saying that while FEMA plays a big role, the primary responsibility lies with the "country of Puerto Rico".

In the year since Hurricane Maria devastated the island, the Puerto Rican government's official death toll has risen several times.

Trump's comments drew outrage, with critics pointing out that Maria led to the deaths of almost 3,000 people.

Carlos Santos-Burgoa, the principal investigator of the GWU study and a professor in the Department of Global Health, said Friday afternoon that he and his colleagues were unbiased in their work and received no political pressure from Democrats or anyone else to come up with a high estimate of storm-related deaths.

The 3,000 number is an approximation from a George Washington University study that estimated how many "excess deaths" occurred as a effect of Hurricane Maria, rather than as a result of the normal life cycle on the island.

"3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday.

More news: Florence expected to become a 'major hurricane' as it heads to US

San Juan mayor and frequent Trump critic Carmen Yulín Cruz tweeted in response to the president, "This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch".

"Although you don't believe it... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages", posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures.

Earlier this week, Trump called the response to Hurricane Maria an "unsung success". "I hate talking about politics and all that, but I think this is more than politics", Cora said.

She says the president is tone deaf to peoples' suffering. "My only consideration was the well-being of the Puerto Rican people".

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

She said it is a "warped-mind that would turn this statistic into "fake news", and it "may be a new low" for the president. But we also lived through the horrific aftermath and we know the toll it took on the most vulnerable. "The loss of any life is tragic".

"This is a devastating storm that hit an isolated island". And that's really no one's fault. "That is just what happened". I've been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand.

The "historical relationship between Puerto Rico and Washington is unfair and un-American", said Rossello.

Cora said that while Trump is president and respects him, he doesn't agree with "a lot of stuff that he says about us".

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