Trump falsely denies 3,000 death toll in Puerto Rico: Suggests Democrat Conspiracy
President Donald Trump has just denied the 3,000 death toll from last year’s Hurrican Maria — coming on the heels of his own assertion that he deserved an A+ for his handling of that hurricane. He’s suggesting some of the deaths may be to “old age” and that there is some kind of Democrat conspiracy. This tweet from CNN’s John Avlon says it all:
Let’s not simply dismiss this latest presidential tweet as Trump being Trump –
The President of the United States just denied the official death toll from Hurricane Maria and blamed it on Democrats.
This is among the lowest statements made by any American president.
— John Avlon (@JohnAvlon) September 13, 2018
President Donald Trump called into question the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria on Thursday — which officials recently estimated at nearly 3,000 — dismissing the number as a conspiracy concocted by Democrats.
As Hurricane Florence barrels towards the east coast of the United States, the Trump administration’s response to Maria in Puerto Rico has come under renewed scrutiny.
Puerto Rico’s government, after maintaining that 64 people had died as a result of the storm, raised the official death toll to 2,975 last month.
Per CNN, the higher figure is “based on the findings of researchers from George Washington University in a study commissioned by the US commonwealth’s government.”
Trump on Tuesday, when confronted with the massive spike in the death told, told reporters he thought the U.S. response was successful.
“I actually think it was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about,” he said. “I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success.”
Now Trump — who is spending his morning watching Fox & Friends — is going so far as to call into question the official death toll on the island.
“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” he declared. “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.”
In a subsequent tweet, Trump blamed Democrats for the death toll: “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.”
Nearly 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. President Donald Trump denied this reality as a hurricane barrels toward the Carolinas.
“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 said in a tweet Thursday morning as Carolinians prepared to be pummeled by Hurricane Florence.
Earlier this month, the island’s governor formally raised the death toll from Hurricane Maria to an estimated 2,975 from 64 following a study conducted by researchers at The George Washington University. CNN’s own reporting reflects similar numbers. The university study accounted for Puerto Ricans who succumbed to the stifling heat and other aftereffects of the storm and had not been previously counted in official figures. Much of the US territory was without power for weeks.
Trump has consistently denied any fault for his administration in the aftermath of the storm. In fact, the President has instead sought praise for his handling of Hurricane Maria, saying earlier this week that it was “an incredible, unsung success.”
His comments run counter to how many locals and experts have assessed the federal government’s response.
The Washington Post offers this fact check in the wake of Trump’s latest tweets, which also puts into political perspective what he is trying to do.
Here is the bottom line politically: members of his base will now take up his argument (this is the pattern and you can already see it on some weblogs and websites). But the GOP’s problem in the mid-terms is trying to stem the flow of educated women, independent voters, and even anti-Hillary Democrats who voted for Trump in 2016, giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Polls show that he is now losing those groups in droves. This story will also add to the narrative in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear.” So he won’t change a lot of minds with his tweets except, most likely for some voters who polls show are feeling a)voters’ remorse b)want a branch of government to provide a check on the Executive branch.
His base is already with him. This will do little, nothing or damage to the GOP’s hopes to halt the bleeding of constituencies that created the winning coalition for Trump on election day 2016.
BREAKING: Trump states without evidence that Puerto Rico hurricane death count is plot by Democrats to make him look bad.
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 13, 2018
When Trump tells a lie — as with the handling of the disastrous Puerto Rico hurricane — the magnitude and repetition of the lie is in direct proportion to how fully he believes he is guilty of the charge being made against him.
— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) September 13, 2018
BREAKING: Pres. Trump rejects independent study that reports an estimated 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico in 5 months after Hurricane Maria; provides no evidence to discount the study; declares, without evidence, that the higher death toll is political ploy to make him look bad.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 13, 2018
Trump's denial of the official death toll from Hurricane Maria is absurd and gross, even though there is uncertainty in the death count. Here's why. https://t.co/Hl2gvcvhgv
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 13, 2018
San Juan Mayor Cruz responds to Pres. Trump's rejection of independent study that reports an estimated 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico in 5 months after Hurricane Maria:
"Damn it: this is NOT about politics this was always about SAVING LIVES."https://t.co/w5I2hhJ3vS
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 13, 2018
— The Hill (@thehill) September 13, 2018
This mornin' Trump claimed the 3000 deaths in Puerto Rico were faked to make him look bad. Next, he'll tell us those kids locked themselves in those cages.
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) September 13, 2018
So now Trump is pushing back against 3000 death toll in #PuertoRico? Blaming the Democrats for an "inflated" death toll? Well, I can push too Mr. President. #PuertoRicoDeathToll #PuertoRicanlivesmatter @laloalcaraz @co_rapunzel4 @MaggieJordanACN @reddroostermann #HurricaneMaria pic.twitter.com/vYSVaomgfk
— Ed Hall (@halltoons) September 13, 2018
All you outraged libs don’t realize that to Trump, 3000 dead Puerto Rican citizens IS success. https://t.co/dWpDRBgU2G
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) September 12, 2018
“HURRICANE MARIA WAS AN INSIDE JOB” — The president in his next tweet, probably.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 13, 2018
20,000 pallets of bottled water meant for the victims of Hurricane Maria has sat untouched on a runway in Puerto Rico for an entire year.
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) September 13, 2018