Trump claims Hurricane Maria death toll rose ‘like magic’

Possibly Millions Of Water Bottles Meant For Hurricane Maria Victims Left On Tarmac In Puerto Rico

Possibly Millions Of Water Bottles Meant For Hurricane Maria Victims Left On Tarmac In Puerto Rico

Facing criticism over his handling of the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico past year, US President Donald Trump has accused rival Democrats of inflating the number of people killed there.

Last year, as hurricanes Irma and Maria upended the lives of more than 3 million American citizens in Puerto Rico, mainland news sources, ours included, were reporting on Trump's tweets about NFL players not standing during the national anthem.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports. He added that "casualties don't make a person look bad".

"That's the official death toll, you lunatic!"

Trump falsely accused Democrats on Thursday of inflating the Puerto Rican toll to make him "look as bad as possible". "Very good towels", Trump said after his visit to Puerto Rico, where he was criticized for light-heartedly tossing paper towels into a crowd as if they were campaign swag.

This is not the first time Trump has tried to downplay the catastrophic hurricane, during his visit to the island soon after Maria hit, Trump said Puerto Ricans should be thankful it wasn't a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina.

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The White House, while describing any death from the hurricane as "a horror", sought to defend Trump's handling of the disaster, saying he had "directed the entire administration to provide unprecedented support to Puerto Rico".

The late night host went on to point out that the 2,975 figure came from researchers at the George Washington University, adding that it was done at the government's request.

"The official death toll from last year's storm stood at 64 until late August, although doubts had been cast on that estimate".

"When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from six to 18 deaths", Trump said.

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

"Physician unawareness of appropriate death certification practices. and the government of Puerto Rico's lack of communication about the death certificate process.substantially limited the count of deaths related to María".

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President Donald Trump has reportedly been fixated on unflattering news reports about his response to Hurricane Maria, which slammed Puerto Rico in September 2017.

Santana's photos began to go viral on the same day that President Trump called his administration's response to Maria an "incredible, unsung success".

"They hired GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?)", Trump wrote.

The statement from the Milken Institute School of Public Health said the their assessment is the most "accurate and unbiased" assessment of mortality following the storm.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump hailed the USA response in Puerto Rico as "an incredible, unsung success". Trump has been laser-focused on hurricane response this week, just not this one.

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