Days after calling his controversial response last year to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico an “unsung success” despite figures showing close to 3,000 deaths, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday, accusing Democrats of jacking up the death toll to make it look like he wasn’t doing a good job in responding to the tragedy.
In a series of tweets posted on Thursday morning, Trump followed up on the comments he made about his administration’s Hurricane Maria relief effort on Tuesday, starting out by saying that the death toll of nearly 3,000 was not accurate. He suggested that there were only “six to 18 deaths” after he left Puerto Rico and after Maria had hit the island, and that the number of casualties “did not go up by much” as time passed.
In his second tweet, Donald Trump claimed that it was Democrat lawmakers who began claiming death tolls of about 3,000 people and that this was done in order to discredit his efforts in rebuilding Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit. He also suggested that shady tactics were used to edit the death toll, such as classifying deaths due to old age as hurricane-related.
“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. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”
Nearly 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico; however, President Donald Trump rejected this number in a series of tweets early Thursday morning via @CNNPolitics https://t.co/JFK5gyq4K9— NPR's Latino USA (@LatinoUSA) September 13, 2018
According to The Guardian, the official death toll for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was at only 64 people until last month when the island’s government cited data from an independent study from George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health and raised the figure to 2,975. This was in addition to separate studies that also hinted at thousands of casualties, including a December 2017 paper from the Center for Investigative Journalism that estimated the number of deaths at more than 1,000, and a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which said in May that up to 4,600 people were killed.
Prior to his latest tweets on Hurricane Maria, Donald Trump was heavily criticized on Tuesday after he described his administration’s response to Puerto Rico after the storm hit as an “incredible, unsung success.” As previously reported by the Inquisitr, these remarks were made while the president was discussing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s level of preparedness in the light of Hurricane Florence’s imminent arrival, and were later on criticized by San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who said that world leaders should not grade themselves or have a “parade of self-accolades” when it comes to natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria.