President Trump has heightened tensions with Puerto Rico and at home in the USA by rejecting the Hurricane Maria death toll and accusing Democrats of inflating the number of casualties to "make me look as bad as possible".
George Washington University's Milken Institute of Public Health, working with the University of Puerto Rico, conducted a study of "excess mortality" in the aftermath of Maria: i.e., the number of people who actually died beyond the number that would normally have been expected to die in that period.
"3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", Trump tweeted. That figure was then compared to the number of deaths reported from September 2017, when the hurricane hit, to February 2018, when the island still struggled with blackouts and a shortages of essential supplies on the road to recovery.
He said: "With 3,000 people dead, for the president to say that Puerto Rico was a success, a triumph of his presidency is simply delusional".
The US president tweeted on Thursday as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas. "The loss of any life is tragic". But even some Republicans-especially those in Florida-are among those disagreeing with the president's assertion about the estimate from researchers at George Washington University.
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They extrapolated that data to estimate 4,600 people died as a direct result of the hurricane, including those who were not able to access vital medical treatment.
Flattened homes on the island of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
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. This is San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, responding to Trump.
"Only Donald Trump could see the tragedy in Puerto Rico and conclude that he is the victim", said Sen.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora wasn't a big fan of President Donald Trump's comments Thursday about Puerto Rico. Salon notes that nobody corrected him by pointing out that Puerto Rico is a territory of the US.
A June report from a local Puerto Rican news outlet - provided to The Daily Wire after it was translated into English - highlighted Yulin Cruz's absence from Puerto Rico as she politicked in the United States.
"We stand by the science underlying our study", the statement said.