On Puerto Rico, Trump Is Right

Hurricane Maria devastated large parts of Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria devastated large parts of Puerto Rico

When Trump visited in October 2017, two weeks after the storm hit, the death toll at the time was indeed 16 people.

"As time went by it did not go up by much", Trump wrote. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3,000". Among them were a lack of training for physicians on how to certify deaths after a natural disaster and the government's lack of communication about proper death-certificate reporting before the 2017 hurricane season. He also called the count a move by Democrats to make him look bad. But that toll should have at least another 1,000 added to it because that's the number of people who died due to debris exposure.

Trump, in a follow up Tweet on Thursday, blamed Democrats for the number, saying it was increased "in order to make me look as bad as possible". It was commissioned by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, and was conducted by experts at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital, slammed Trump for the comments nearly immediately.

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: "The world has seen, and the majority of the American people have seen, how neglectful he was towards the people of Puerto Rico".

Noah also cited the report, but did a take on a new "sh***storm Trump", and had mock stand-ups from various weatherpeople and newspeople, who treated the President as though he were a storm threatening the US.

"Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him".

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He cast doubt on the official death toll in tweets on Thursday.

In August, George Washington University released a study estimating that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria.

Those involved with the study have emphasized that the 3,00 estimate is not a conclusive number and further work should be done.

Later in August, the aforementioned independent report put the death toll of the 2017 storm at almost 3,000 people - most of whom died after the storm due to complications from widespread power outages and water shortages.

State and local officials are responsible for establishing death tolls, not the federal government.

Trump's tweets - which came as a highly unsafe Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolinas - brought an immediate rebuke from Democrats in Congress.

The emergency response to Maria became highly politicized as the Trump administration was criticised as being slow to recognise the extent of the devastation and too sluggish in providing disaster relief to Puerto Rico, an island of more than 3 million residents.

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