Trump renews claim on rise in Hurricane Maria death toll
■ HEALTH EXPERTS estimated that nearly 3,000 perished due to Hurricane Maria ■ TRUMP HAS repeatedly questioned that number over the last couple of days.
Washington, Sept. 15: As Tropical Storm Flor- ence inundated the Caro- linas on Friday, US Pres- ident Donald Trump circled back to his claim that the official death toll from a devastating storm a year earlier in Puerto Rico was inflated and said the number of dead seemed to rise from double digits to 3,000 “like magic.”
Public health experts have estimated that nearly 3,000 perished because of effects of Hurricane Maria. However, Trump, whose efforts to help the island territory recover have been persistently criticised, has repeatedly questioned that number over the last couple of days.
“FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER - NO WAY!” he tweeted late Friday.
Trump falsely accused Democrats on Thursday of inflating the Puerto Rican toll to make him “look as bad as possible.”
He said just six to 18 people had been reported dead when he visited two weeks after the October 2017 storm and suggested that many were added later “if a person died for any reason, like old age.”
When Trump visited Puerto Rico, the death toll at the time was indeed 16 people. The number was later raised to 64, but the government then commissioned an independent study to determine how many died because of post- storm conditions.