Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Puerto Rico hurricane: How was the 3,000 death toll worked out?

President Trump speaks to members of the media following a briefing on Hurricane Florence in the Oval Office on Tuesday President Trump speaks to members of the media following a briefing on Hurricane Florence in the Oval Office on Tuesday
Deanna Wagner | 15 September, 2018, 17:30

Trump has been criticized for his response to Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico last September and resulted in almost 3,000 deaths.

Trump's Thursday morning tweets focused on a George Washington University study released last month that examined the toll from Hurricane Maria. We don't know if it was sufficient, that it was enough, I don't know.

Trump's tweets reiterated remarks he made during a Congressional Medal of Honor event at the White House late Wednesday, when he stressed the safety of the American people is his "absolute highest priority", and that his administration is sparing no expense. "Then, like magic, '3000 PEOPLE KILLED.' They hired..."

The whole kerfuffle started with another, earlier tweet where Trump wrote, "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".

"But the President continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility, and the problem is that if he didn't acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of SC and the people of North Carolina", Cruz said. But Trump, whose efforts to help the island territory recover have been persistently criticized, was having none of that Thursday. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths". That study - conducted by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University - estimated 2,975 deaths.

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

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

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Colbert, still doing his Trump impression, extrapolates from that "I love Puerto Rico!" closer by saying, "Yes, yes, you're my favorite bunch of lying, ungrateful fake dead people".

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who is also retiring, said: "There is no reason to dispute these numbers". After President Trump visited the island in October, the governor announced the death toll had risen to 34.

The photos began circulating on social media Tuesday, the same day President Trump again praised the government's response to Maria during a meeting with top DHS and FEMA officials.

In the new ad, "Commitment", Scott says in Spanish, "When I don't agree with what President Trump does or says, I've said it". He worked in the Obama administration, and previous year travelled to the island to help in the aftermath of Maria. In a September 13 tweet, the president posted, "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".

Cora, who was born in Puerto Rico, took issue with those comments.

Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, is home to some 3.3 million people.

Puerto Rico's government is run by the New Progressive party, a pro-statehood, Puerto Rico-only party.