President Trump on Thursday falsely accused Democrats of inflating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year, rejecting a government assessment that the storm had claimed almost 3,000 lives.
"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump tweeted, claiming, without evidence, that the numbers were inflated. They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila!
Commissioned by Puerto Rico's governor, the study found that the authorities' initial figure of 64 deaths was likely as low due to officials strictly classifying only certain deaths - such as those caused by collapsing buildings, flying debris, floods and drownings - as caused by the hurricane.
The George Washington University study, requested by the governor of Puerto Rico, examined an unusually long period of time following the storm in an attempt to detect the hurricane's lingering, indirect effects on mortality.
A U.S. government report published this month concluded that the federal response in Puerto Rico was hampered by a lack of trained staff as well as by major logistical challenges. "It's just what happened".
Florence was to be the first major test of FEMA since its response to the Puerto Rico disaster, which was widely criticised.
However Trump implied the death toll was revised for political reasons.
But that isn't how anyone measures a hurricane's death toll (including Donald Trump, who, during his visit to Puerto Rico, cited a death toll from Katrina that included those killed by the conditions that storm left in its wake). "But I don't agree with a lot of stuff that he says about us".
With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas, Donald Trump posted a Twitter video in which he both claiming to have everything in hand and warned of catastrophe.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz fired off several tweets targeting Trump after Trump said "3,000 people did not die" and called the death count a move by Democrats to make him look bad.
One media outlet where Trump was not subjected to scathing criticism for his Hurricane Maria death toll denials, however, was Fox News, according to a report by ShareBlue. Let's do better. But I don't think it helps to just point fingers at the president or the mayor.
On "Outnumbered" on Thursday, Melissa Francis said she doesn't understand why Trump weighed in on the matter, calling it "incredibly distasteful" to debate Maria's death toll as another deadly hurricane bears down. We are public health people. An "independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. (Ricardo) Rosselló agreed", wrote Scott, who is running for the Senate.
"I hate that people are making it a political issue".