Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Ryan Contradicts Trump: 'I Have No Reason To Dispute' Maria Death Toll

Ryan Contradicts Trump: 'I Have No Reason To Dispute' Maria Death Toll

WASHINGTON-President Trump on Thursday denied Hurricane Maria caused 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico, falsely accusing Democrats of inflating the toll to "make me look as bad as possible".

The president reasoned that the response to Hurricane Maria was a success because the power grid was damaged before the storm and Puerto Rico's geography made it especially hard to provide aid.

Trump said the recovery effort for Puerto Rico was complicated by the fact that it is an island and that its energy grid was in poor condition when the storm hit. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3,000".

He added that Democrats had inflated the official death toll to "make me look as bad as possible". Based on the study's findings, Hurricane Maria was the second deadliest storm in U.S. history.

The report said the 2,975 deaths occurred between the time the storm hit in September 2017 and February 2018.

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).

"The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous", he continued.

Earlier this week, after Mr Trump hailed the USA response in Puerto Rico as "tremendous" and "an incredible, unsung success".

The president spoke before meeting with aides about preparations for Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia later this week.

Trump told confidants that the media was underplaying the challenging circumstances in Puerto Rico and trying to exploit the storm to attack him.

Moreover, in any part of the United States, 3,000 excess deaths in six months would be considered a crisis, worthy of an intensive investigation to find out what went wrong - rather than a tweet storm that minimizes the problem.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that the incoming storm is "looking even bigger than anticipated", urging those in the hurricane's path to "get out of its way".

Mr Trump you can try and bully us with your tweets BUT WE KNOW OUR LIVES MATTER.

"The safety of American people is my absolute highest priority", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

The Trump administration's efforts in Puerto Rico received widespread criticism. More than 1 million people already faced mandatory evacuation orders Tuesday in coastal areas of Virginia, North Carolina and SC.

The governor of Puerto Rico, who commissioned the research, said he accepted the estimate as official.

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