Trump on Thursday morning tweeted he believed between six and 18 people died as a result of the storm that struck the island as a Category 4 hurricane.
"I was there a long time, there was a transformer fire and the power went out, when they started dying then?"
'If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list.
As for the Trump administration, more than half of federal emergency personnel in Puerto Rico were not qualified for their assigned tasks as of October 2017, a month after landfall, according to a September 5 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
In a report published two weeks ago, researchers at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C., concluded that 2,975 "excess deaths" were linked to that hurricane.
Rossello said Puerto Ricans "do not deserve to have their pain questioned" and backed the study. "Indirect" deaths are harder to count because they can include such things as heart attacks, electrocutions from downed power lines and failure to receive dialysis because the power is out - and those kinds of fatalities can happen after a storm has ended but while an area is struggling to restore electricity, clean water and other health and safety services.
"I mean, at what point do you recognize that what they're doing is a political agenda, couched in the nice language of journalism?"
Photos of dozens of pallets of bottled water sitting on the runway emerged this week and raised fresh questions about the federal government's handling in the aftermath of Maria, which devastated the island and was responsible for almost 3,000 deaths.
"'When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria.'" Trump quoted The Post's story in a tweet.
"FEMA put that water out on that airstrip for the objective of getting it out of containers, so that there would be no cost to us and no cost to the taxpayer", he said, echoing comments made by FEMA deputy administrator Daniel Kaniewski on "CBS This Morning" on Thursday.
Puerto Rican officials have previously blamed mismanagement on Fema, whereas President Trump has said authorities on the island are incompetent.
Santos-Burgoa said the stress of the moment and confusion over how deaths were supposed to be noted contributed to an underreporting of how many died from the storm.
State and local officials are responsible for establishing death tolls, not the federal government.
In January, Cora led a Red Sox delegation to Puerto Rico to distribute aid.
A 78 year-old man died while trying to plug in a generator, reportedly connecting two extension cords outside in the rain.
"Trump resurfaced the debate this week when he boasted about his administration's response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico".
Earlier this month, Puerto Rico's governor officially raised the death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975.
The US federal government's response to Hurricane Maria has come under fresh scrutiny this week.