Trump claims Maria death toll rose ‘like magic’

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He was criticised for treating a visit to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane like a rally, mimicking a basketball player as he threw paper towels to Puerto Rican residents at a local relief centre.

Maria came after two other deadly storms - Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida.

"The water was kept in an area that was pretty hard hit during the storm and could have used all the water they could have gotten", Begnaud said in a video report.

"I was there a long time, there was a transformer fire and the power went out, when they started dying then?" CNN's own reporting reflects similar numbers.

But unlike the millions of Puerto Ricans who either couldn't physically leave the island or didn't have the resources to do so, I was able to get the help I needed back in the mainland. "But in reality, it is much worse than we could have imagined".

Earlier this week, Trump called the response to Hurricane Maria an "unsung success".

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to the GOP majority Thursday calling for the panel to request documents from the White House relating to the Puerto Rico response.

"When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria", Trump tweeted, appearing to attribute the quote to the Washington Post. "It was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about". You should not be just having a parade of self-accolades. "We still - you see the hurricane swarming now [in the Carolinas], and everybody's panicking".

Of course, the 2,975-person death toll from Hurricane Maria was not a Democratic ploy to hurt Trump.

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Tropical storm watches extend as far north as Norfolk, Virginia. "Protection of life is the absolute highest priority", he added. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, but a life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall were still expected.

"We made a lot of changes in real time in addition to the high-level efforts that we learned through our after-action process".

In response, the Mayor of Puerto Rico's capital San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, tweeted: "Mr Trump you can try and bully us with your tweets BUT WE KNOW OUR LIVES MATTER".

Meyers went on to share concerns over the president's "incompetence and erratic behaviour" before talking about the midterms which have led to concerns being raised by Republicans.

"Now, folks, if you watch the show, you know we kid the president about being a bad person", he said. 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".

"The people of Puerto Rico know the American government failed them", Velasquez said.

He added: "I've been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand".

After almost a year of controversy over the figures, the island's governor said the new estimate would now be considered the official death toll.

Researchers at GWU's Milken Institute School of Public Health, whose specific study Trump denied, released a statement later on Thursday defending their finding.

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