President Trump disputes widely accepted Puerto Rico hurricane death toll, blames Democrats

Hugh Fox
September 13, 2018

He initially said it was not a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina and urged Puerto Ricans not to believe the stories they were hearing.

The president's remarks came in the midst of an update in the Oval Office with officials on the status of Hurricane Florence, now making its way towards the East Coast.

President Trump on Tuesday touted what he described as the "incredibly successful" response to the back-to-back hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico a year ago.

"I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful", Trump said, adding that he thought the storms that hit the island were "probably the hardest" thus far due to "the island nature". The study, released last month, showed a much higher death toll than the initial estimate of 64 people. CNN's own reporting reflects similar numbers.

The Puerto Rican Vital Statistics System was offline "for some time" because of the storm, which caused some delay in death registration, though the reports were complete and accurate in the end.

Top Republicans broke from Trump's assessment.

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Ryan concluded: "So, I have no reason to dispute those number".

People online were aghast that the president would somehow blame Democrats for an accurate death toll being reported. I toured the entire island. At the time, the White House did not dispute the numbers. "Those are just the facts of what happened".

Florida Democrats responded swiftly to Trump's unsubstantiated claims. He called on the governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello to launch an official independent investigation into the incident.

As the discussion about the blame game continued, Whoopi Goldberg eventually brought the conversation full circle by saying of Trump, "stop tweeting man, you're not helping".

Earlier this week, after Mr Trump hailed the United States response in Puerto Rico as "tremendous" and "an incredible, unsung success".

The bottles were provided by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency and turned over to the central government past year, according to the CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, who first reported on the revelation. "We are ready. We are ready as anybody has ever been".

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The photos in Gerst's post capture Florence mid-churn, winds up to 130 miles per hour whipping around the storm's eye. Officials in SC said they were unnerved to learn that the projected path of the hurricane had veered south.


Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, directly blamed Trump for the deaths in addition to lack of preparedness from the government on the federal and local level. You never know, but we know.

They said about 4,600 people died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane from delayed medical care.

In the Oval Office on Tuesday, the president praised his administration's response to the series of storms in 2017.

Ramos told ABC he's not sure how long the bottles have been sitting there, but a report from the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration says FEMA made a delivery of "excess bottled water" in April. Bottom line is, we are concentrating on what we call critical lifelines - health, safety, security.

"You can tweet all you want to but quit making yourself out to be this hero. If we did that, we're going to fess up to it". "And so, we're reorganizing the firepower of the federal government underneath these critical lifelines, we're pushing forward", Long added.

He went on to claim that Democrats were responsible for the increased death toll as part of a plot to make him look "as bad as possible".

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