Trump Accuses Democrats, Media of Falsified Hurricane Death Totals in Puerto Rico


President Donald Trump on Thursday disputed the revised death toll resulting from Hurricane Maria being nearly 3,000 people, contending the number was inflated by Democrats to make him look bad.

Trump tweeted: “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.”

He added, “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!”

Trump’s tweets came two days after his assessment that the federal response to the Category 4 storm was an “unsung success.”

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“Probably the hardest one we had by far was Puerto Rico because of the island nature,” the president said in the White House on Tuesday. “I actually think it was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with what respect to what this is all about.”

“Puerto Rico did not get hit with one hurricane, but with two,” Trump said. “And the problem with Puerto Rico is their electric grid, their electric generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit. It was in very bad shape…The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor I think was tremendous.

“I think the Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success.”

Do you think the death toll number from the hurricanes has been inflated?

According to a study conducted by George Washington University that was released late last month, “there were 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria between September 2017 and February.”

That figure, according to researchers, represented a 22 percent increase in mortality than what would have been expected absent the storm’s impact.

Prior to release of the study, Puerto Rico listed its official death total from Maria as 64, according to ABC News.

Trump received strong criticism, particularly from liberal politicians, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a member of the island’s Popular Democratic Party, as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat.

“This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!” Cruz wrote in one of a series of tweets targeting Trump.

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“Damn it: this is NOT about politics this was always about SAVING LIVES,” the mayor — who is reportedly weighing a run for governor of Puerto Rico in 2020 — added in another.

Pelosi tweeted that Trump prefers “alternative facts” and chastised Republican members of Congress who she said are “determined to shield his insulting behavior from accountability.”

The minority leader was also a very vocal critic of former President George W. Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The recovery effort from the massive storm was hindered by the administration’s difficulty coordinating with then Democratic Mayor Ray Nagin and Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco, The Washington Post reported in December of 2005.

At the time, Pelosi described Bush as, “Oblivious. In denial, Dangerous,” The New York Times reported.

The federal response to Hurricane Katrina, with the accompanying avalanche of negative coverage, contributed to Bush’s low approval numbers and, arguably, the Democrat take over of the House the following year.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith