San Juan mayor dismisses Trump's 'unsung success' view of Maria response

Donald Trump says Hurricane Maria’s Puerto Rico death toll is a ploy to make him “look bad”

President Donald Trump speaks during a Congressional Medal of Honor Society reception in the East Room of the White House. Susan Walsh AP

The Puerto Rican government recently raised the official death count from the awful storm and aftermath to almost 3,000, but Trump cast doubt on that figure, claiming the Democrats inflated the number to make him look "as bad as possible".

Mr. Trump inaccurately stated that only six to 18 people died "after" the storm hit the island and said Democrats padded the death toll by including, for example, a person who died of old age "in order to make me look as bad as possible". As time went by it did not go up by much. That figure was then compared to the number of deaths reported from September 2017, when the hurricane hit, to February 2018, when the island still struggled with blackouts and a shortages of essential supplies on the road to recovery.

Trump visited Puerto Rico on October 3 of a year ago, when the death toll was estimated to be 16, comparing the storm favorably to Katrina saying "Sixteen versus in the thousands".

The 3,000 number is an approximation from a George Washington University study that estimated how many "excess deaths" occurred as a effect of Hurricane Maria, rather than as a result of the normal life cycle on the island. Not only because it seemed indifferent to Puerto Rican suffering, but also because it is demonstrably false. Those findings, by researchers at George Washington University on behalf of the Puerto Rico governor, were markedly different than the government's initial count, 64.

The Republican president went on to accuse Democrats of inflating the death toll to make him look bad, without providing evidence. "Those are just the facts of what happened".

Earlier this week, Trump called the response to Hurricane Maria an "unsung success".

A clear pattern emerged from the analysis: The mortality rate spiked in the months after the storm, particularly in the poorest areas of Puerto Rico, and among elderly males.

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Regarding Hurricane Maria, Gutierrez alleged that Trump's focus from the beginning "was on damage control from a political standpoint, not damage control from a human life standpoint".

"We've been battling through it", Cora said, via NBC Sports Boston.

President Donald Trump denied this reality as a hurricane barrels toward the Carolinas.

"Only Donald Trump could see the tragedy in Puerto Rico and conclude that he is the victim".

This is not the first time Trump has tried to downplay the catastrophic hurricane, during his visit to the island soon after Maria hit, Trump said Puerto Ricans should be thankful it wasn't a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina. "The loss of any life is tragic". The one thing for sure, the Red Sox helped, [so did] the Cubs, the Pirates, the Houston Astros, there's a lot of people in the States that are still helping us. I hate that people that make it a political issue. Puerto Rico finally accepted the conclusion of an independent report on hurricane-related deaths, conducted by George Washington University, last month.

And FEMA Administrator Brock Long has said FEMA made changes to some of its priorities and procedures.

Another Trump critic, and a target of his tweets, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tweeted, "Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him".

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