President Donald Trump is notorious for making false claims and denying any set of information that makes him look bad — even if it’s from his own government.
As the United States braces itself for Hurricane Florence, it seems Trump is still determined to make people believe he did a great job during Hurricane Maria.
In a latest fit of fury, Trump successfully enraged millions of Americans by claiming the almost 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by two back-to-back hurricanes were fake news. He blamed the Democrats for making up false numbers to make him look “as bad as possible.”
3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
.....This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
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.
Last month, Hurricane Maria’s death toll was found to be much higher than that of Katrina.
A study conducted at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health found that 2,975 died in Puerto Rico, and the official number of deaths was revised from 64 by the Puerto Rican government.
Before the government-commissioned GWU study, many independent investigations also found the Hurricane Maria death toll to be in the thousands.
Yet, Trump insisted Hurricane Maria was an “unsung success” and the revised death toll was some ploy by Democrats to undermine him.
The Miken Institute released a statement refuting Trump’s claims.
“We stand by the science underlying our study,” the statement said. “This study, commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico, was carried out with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference.”
“Our results show that Hurricane Maria was a very deadly storm, one that affected the entire island but hit the poor and the elderly the hardest,” the statement continued. “We are confident that the number — 2,975 — is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date.”
Trump’s tweets are not only disrespectful to the lives lost in Puerto Rico; they also assert a well-known trait of the president: no matter the tragedy, everything is always about him.
Trump was widely panned for his insensitive tweets.
This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING! pic.twitter.com/OJEDqT74Sr— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) September 13, 2018
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló fires back at Trump's Hurricane Maria death toll denial in new statement:— Hayley Miller (@hayleymiller01) September 13, 2018
"It is not time to deny what happened. It is time to make sure that it does not happen again." pic.twitter.com/wTxiSZ4DDc
"He’s dead wrong and it’s just frustrating when he denies reality sometimes in order to protect himself." @SenDougJones on Pres. Trump tweets debating the death toll in #PuertoRico from Hurricane Maria last year. #PuertoRicoDeathToll pic.twitter.com/tVvzntJk5t— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) September 13, 2018
My father died in Puerto Rico between Irma and Maria.— Keith Hernandez (@keithrhernandez) September 13, 2018
He died alone, without power, without his medication.
Fuck this fucking fuck and everyone who voted for him and enables him. To disregard human life like this is the lowest of his lows. https://t.co/WTuT6fQXOD
@realDonaldTrump seems real unhinged & emboldened in telling blatant lies.— Jamie D. (@JammedBus) September 13, 2018
The data was withheld for months. They finally admitted the situation was more dire than they were admitting.
I should know, my aunt lived in Puerto Rico & she died bc of lack of access to get medical care
FUCK YOU TRUMP! My uncle was one of the 3,000 people that died cause both governments didn't provide and do their jobs to help Puerto Ricans who are Americans and are still without any kind of help and resources!#PuertoRicoDeathToll #PuertoRico #PuertoRicans https://t.co/O6o60q4H7B— ????L.A.Falú?? (@BronxBebe) September 13, 2018
In fact, the tweet was so disastrous, it was even pushed back by prominent Republicans — which is a rare sight.
I disagree with @POTUS– an independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. Rosselló agreed. I've been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand. The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching. I'll continue to help PR— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) September 13, 2018
House Speaker Paul Ryan said he saw no reason to dispute the numbers found in the GWU study.
"Casualties don't make a person look bad, so I have no reason to dispute these numbers," he said. "It was devastating. It was a horrible storm. I toured the entire island. It's an isolated island that lost its infrastructure and power for a long time, you couldn't get to people for a long time.”
"I have no reason to dispute those numbers," Ryan added. "Those are just the facts of what happened.”
Ron DeSantis also disagreed with Trump’s unsubstantial claims of an inflated death toll.
“He [DeSantis] doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated,” said a statement from campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson. “Ron is focused on continuing to help our Puerto Rican neighbors recover and create opportunities for those who have moved to Florida [to] succeed.”
Trump’s repugnant lies which aim at politicizing a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives is yet another example of the POTUS trying to play the blame game without any proof.
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