President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to call into question the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, saying the death toll from the summer 2017 storm, which has been revised to almost 3,000 people, was the work of Democrats looking to tarnish his record.
A George Washington University study in July found that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island territory in September 2017. Many people would be without power and essentials like food, water, and medicine for months after the storm, contributing to the high death toll.
Trump said the number of deaths when he visited Puerto Rico after the storm was "from 6 to 18", even though news outlets were already reporting dozens, if not hundreds, of additional casualties that were likely uncounted.
President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into the crowd during his visit to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. He falsely claimed the number had been inflated by Democrats "in order to make me look as bad as possible".
Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
The study - done by the school's Milken Institute of Public Health - reported that the deaths occurred between September of last year and February of this year.
Studies estimated the death toll ranged from 800 to more than 4,600.
Ahead of Florence striking the U.S. east coast, Mr Trump spoke with political leaders in the Carolinas and offered "whatever is needed", Sarah Sanders, the White House spokesman, said.
"The people of Puerto Rico know the American government failed them", Velasquez said. I hate that people that make it a political issue.
The Puerto Rican government initially linked just 64 deaths to Maria.
In a latest fit of fury, Trump successfully enraged millions of Americans by claiming the nearly 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by two back-to-back hurricanes were fake news. Trump continued calling it an "unsung success" hampered by San Juan Mayor Carmon Yulin Cruz, and the whole "island" thing.
"I spent a [sic] 5 days volunteering in Puerto Rico several months after the Hurricanes", Cox wrote.
She added that the attitude from the administration is unacceptable and that "we have a moral obligation to do better, not only to finish the job of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but to prevent the same type of inadequate response from ever happening again".
The US federal government's response to Hurricane Maria has come under fresh scrutiny this week. George Washington University said in a statement Thursday that it stood by the report. "We are confident that the number - 2,975 - is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date".
The NBC star didn't just target Trump for his Puerto Rico tweets, though.