Donald Trump disputes Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria death toll, blames Democrats

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who's from Puerto Rico and headed to the island in January to provide assistance in the wake of the hurricane, was asked about the tweets when he arrived at the ballpark on Thursday afternoon. He said the toll was no greater than 18 when he visited the island a year ago and "did not go up by much". They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila!

Conducted by George Washington University, the study Trump is attempting to discredit as a Democratic plot was commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, which revised its earlier Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975 after the study was published in August. But I think this is more than politics.

Cora told reporters he respects Trump, but noted that he doesn't "agree with a lot of stuff he says about us".

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) slammed Trump, saying it's shameful that he would try to make the deaths of almost 3,000 American citizens into "a story about himself and his political fortunes". "Ron DeSantis is committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after a tragic loss of life".

Puerto Rico was recovering from Hurricane Irma before Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017, destroying roads and bridges and leaving much of the Caribbean island without electricity for months. Trump argued without evidence that the number was wrong and falsely called it a plot by Democrats to make him "look as bad as possible".

That morning, Politico reported that FEMA's top official, Brock Long, may have "misused government resources and personnel", sparking a Department of Homeland Security investigation.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was a particularly aggressive critic of Trump in the days and weeks following the hurricane; her response to Trump's tweet today was no different.

Stewart was being interviewed Wednesday about Trump's earlier statements that his administration's handling of the hurricane that hit the US territory was "an incredible, unsung success" and "one of the best jobs that's ever been done".

Superb dwelling photos reward 'nightmare' Storm Florence swirling over the Atlantic
That also means that colossal weather systems like Hurricane Florence are easy to observe as the spacecraft cruises along. NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold also captured some incredible images of the storm from the windows of the space station.

Trump's tweets - which came as a highly risky Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolinas - brought an immediate rebuke from Democrats in Congress.

Florence was to be the first major test of FEMA since its response to the Puerto Rico disaster, which was widely criticised.

We should note the response to Hurricane Maria was made especially challenging by these one-off factors: It was the third major hurricane of the season, it struck outside the continental USA, and Puerto Rico's electric grid and financial situation was already in disarray.

As for the power outage that left hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans in the dark for months, the agency will now rely on workers from private power companies to begin repairs after Florence.

After discussing the political impact of the comment that has largely drawn bipartisan debunking, Mike Barnicle summed it up best "Let's say I am running in the state of MS, you got a good economy".

Former Vice President Joe Biden mocked Trump's baseless claim, and the study's authors stood by their work, calling it "the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date".

A Harvard University study in May said at least 4,645 died.

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