‘3000 People Did Not Die’: Trump Disputes Death Toll Of Hurricane Maria

In a pair of tweets on Thursday, President Trump disputed the actual number of people who died during Hurricane Maria.

Trump said news reports of nearly 3,000 people dying in Puerto Rico from the hurricane were false and that these people were killed after, presumably to the damage the hurricane caused to the island’s infrastructure.

“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” the president plainly said in a tweet, speaking of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Nate which hit the island several weeks later.

“When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths,” Trump continued. “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…”

And, “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!”

The number dispute seems to come from a classification of how the people were killed. ABC 7 reports doctors were unable to adequately classify whether a person died as a result of the hurricane or not in the six months following the hurricane.

From the report:

Puerto Rico’s governor last month raised the U.S. territory’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found that the number of people who succumbed in the sweltering aftermath had been severely undercounted.

The estimate of nearly 3,000 dead in the six months after Maria devastated the island in September 2017 and knocked out the entire electrical grid was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. The study says the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster.

The Hill similarly reports the number of people (3,000) who were killed as a result of Hurricane Maria comes from an estimate of people who would have normally died during the six-month period versus how many people actually died in that same time:

The GW study reviewed mortality rates on the island on non-disaster years and compared them to rates post-Maria. According to the study, emigration rates were also factored in to avoid miscounting the deaths, since tens of thousands of people left the island after the hurricanes.

According to the study, in the six months after the hurricanes, 16,608 people died in Puerto Rico. Had the disaster not occurred, GW researchers estimate 13,633 people would have died in that same period.

Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi and others online criticized Trump’s tweets and said he should accept blame for the government’s response to the hurricane recovery effort.

“This is a direct result of your weak response, sad incompetence and utter neglect, Donald Trump. Spare us the outcry and do something for the American families in Puerto Rico who remain devastated.”

As ABC News reports, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz also responded.

“Mr Trump you can try and bully us with your tweets BUT WE KNOW OUR LIVES MATTER,” she tweeted. “You will never take away our self-respect. Shame on you!”

The president’s tweets came as Hurricane Florence is making landfall today as a Category 2.

Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect the views held by Sarah Palin.

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