Trump declares thousands of deaths in Puerto Rico fake news

Andrew Caballero  AFP  Getty ImagesA large rain cloud passes over a day before the arrival of hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Sept. 12 2018

Donald Trump has rejected the widely accepted Puerto Rico hurricane death toll, saying without evidence that "3,000 people did not die". They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila!

The official death toll has been contested since the hurricane struck in the fall of 2017.

Thursday morning on Twitter, he disputed that 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria one year ago.

"We left this analysis to the scientists and experts, recognising that there would be many challenges, because we wanted to have a powerful and independent voice to minimise the uncertainty", he said in a video on Facebook. "He's the president of the United States, but I don't agree with a lot of what he says about us". The upshot was the president claimed the numbers were concocted merely to make him look bad.

The death toll study was commissioned by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, a member of Puerto Rico's "New Progressive Party".

Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the USA, is home to some 3.3 million people.

That number was produced by public health experts at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in a report commissioned by the US territory's governor, Ricardo Rossello.

There's growing sentiment that this is the worst tweet by Trump ever.

But Trump has continued to praise his own government's response to the disaster in Puerto Rico.

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Carmen Yulin Cruz, the Democrat mayor of San Juan in Puerto Rico, called Mr Trump "delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality".

DeSantis' statement did not mention Trump by name, but his campaign's decision to come out against the President's view was particularly noteworthy given the candidate openly courted Trump during his primary campaign and has commended him countless times.

Nerybelle Perez holds a picture of her father, World War II veteran Efrain Perez, who died inside an ambulance after being turned away from the largest public hospital when it had no electricity or water, days after Hurricane Maria passed, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, June 7, 2018. The George Washington University report said the actual number of excess deaths was estimated to be in the range of 2,658 to 3,290.

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.

Trump then blamed Democrats for the figures, "to make me look as bad as possible".

Photos have emerged showing 20,000 pallets of bottled water meant for victims still sitting on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, a year after the storm.

Puerto Rico didn't restore power across the island until last month, meaning some residents on the island lacked power for almost a year after the hurricane.

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

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