Fury over Trump’s Maria toll claims

Daily Record - - NEWS -

BY CATHER­INE LUCEY DON­ALD Trump has sparked more out­rage by dis­put­ing the death toll from Hur­ri­cane Maria last year – and falsely ac­cus­ing Democrats of in­flat­ing the Puerto Ri­can count.

Pub­lic health ex­perts es­ti­mate that nearly 3000 peo­ple died be­cause of the ef­fects of Maria.

But the US pres­i­dent – whose ef­forts to help the is­land ter­ri­tory re­cover have been slammed – claimed just six to 18 peo­ple had been re­ported dead when he vis­ited two weeks af­ter the storm.

He also sug­gested that many had been added later “if a per­son died for any rea­son, like old age”.

Trump’s com­ments came as the US east coast is hit by Hur­ri­cane Florence.

He said of the Puerto Rico death toll: “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.”

Even some Repub­li­cans sug­gested the pres­i­dent had gone too far. Se­nate con­tender Gover­nor Rick Scott – whose Florida state has a large Puerto Ri­can pop­u­la­tion – tweeted: “I’ve been to Puerto Rico seven times and saw dev­as­ta­tion first­hand. The loss of any life is tragic.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan added: “Ca­su­al­ties don’t make a per­son look bad. I have no rea­son to dis­pute those numbers.”

Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Graham said: “I don’t think it’s bad to say we could have done bet­ter in Puerto Rico.”

He also said he thought Trump “sees ev­ery attack on him as sort of un­der­cut­ting his le­git­i­macy”.

White House spokesman Ho­gan Gi­d­ley said: “Pres­i­dent Trump was re­spond­ing to the lib­eral me­dia and the San Juan Mayor who, sadly, have tried to ex­ploit the dev­as­ta­tion by push­ing out a con­stant stream of mis­in­for­ma­tion and false ac­cu­sa­tions.”

DE­FI­ANCE Mes­sage on home in At­lantic Beach YELL ON EARTH Lane Pittman of Jack­sonville bares storm and woman and dog are res­cued in James City, right RE­LIEF A vol­un­teer from the Civil­ian Cri­sis Re­sponse Team res­cues a child in James City. Pic­ture: Getty

WARN­ING STV’s Sean Batty

CRASS Don­ald Trump

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