Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Donald Trump denies Hurricane Maria death toll in horrifically incorrect Twitter rant

Burke and Chris Rayner load generators as people buy supplies at The Home Depot on Monday Sept. 10 2018 in Wilmington N.C Ken Blevins The Star News via AP
Charlie Simmons | 14 September, 2018, 06:04

President Donald Trump has been "lying about Puerto Rico from the start to make himself look better", and on Thursday morning Trump lied once more by falsely claiming that a widely accepted academic study showing that almost 3,000 Puerto Ricans died as a result of Hurricane Maria was "done by the Democrats" in an attempt to make him "look as bad as possible".

The emergency response to Maria became highly politicized as the Trump administration was criticised as being slow to recognise the extent of the devastation and too sluggish in providing disaster relief to Puerto Rico, an island of more than 3 million residents. Full power was restored in Puerto Rico following last year's storm only last month. The goal? To make him look bad, of course! "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", Trump tweeted.

Trump then added that the high death toll was a result of Democrats trying to make him look bad.

US President Donald Trump has rejected the widely accepted death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria and claimed without citing evidence that "3000 people did not die".

In Florida, which was badly hit by Hurricane Irma past 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.

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office released a report that revealed FEMA had been so overwhelmed with storms by the time Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico that more than half of the workers it was deploying to disasters were known to be unqualified for the jobs they were doing in the field.

Tapper argued that because Trump is attacking the number and the media is now using it as an official death toll, chances are, Trump's own supporters aren't going to believe it.

Trump maintained as recently as Tuesday that his response to the storm was an "incredible unsung success".

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Throughout his presidency, Trump has struggled to publicly express empathy at times of national crises, sparking outrage during his post-Maria visit when he feuded with the San Juan mayor and tossed out paper towels to victims like he was shooting baskets. "We see it that way". Sober as the New York Times is in reporting Trump's latest big lie, it still represents in characterizing him how low we've sunk.

The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, isn't even a Democrat - he's a member of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party.

Cora stressed that last point, saying he didn't view the issue as political.

Maria devastated the island in September 2017 and knocked out the entire electricity grid. But I think this is more than politics. Its inhabitants are US citizens, though they are barred from voting in presidential elections and have only one congressional representative with limited voting powers. It was initially said to have killed just 64 people.

In a statement, the institute said it would "stand by the science underlying our study".

"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.

In January, Cora led a Red Sox delegation to Puerto Rico to distribute aid.

Trump's new fury threatened to distract from massive efforts to respond to Hurricane Florence.

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