World

Trump disputes Puerto Rico storm death toll, draws outcry

Trump disputes Puerto Rico storm death toll, draws outcry

Retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., was one of the lone Republicans to lash out at President Trump's tweet Thursday, calling it "dehumanizing" and suggesting that Trump doesn't consider Puerto Ricans American citizens but "brown stepchildren".

He added, "This was a devastating storm that hit an isolated island, and that's really no one's fault". He said the toll was no greater than 18 when he visited the island previous year and "did not go up by much".

As Hurricane Florence approached the Carolinas on Thursday morning, Trump disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria past year, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

President Donald Trump said Thursday he doesn't believe 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico past year as a result of Hurricanes Maria and Irma - a claim that drew swift criticism from members of both parties.

"It's actually disrespectful for my country", said Cora, who was wearing a black T-shirt with an image of Puerto Rico on the front.

Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of Puerto Rico's capital San Juan and vocal critic of Trump, tweeted her dismay at his latest offensive. In response, representatives from the GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health said they stand by their science, and "are confident that the number - 2,975 - is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date".

In January, Cora led a Red Sox delegation to Puerto Rico to distribute aid. Some Puerto Ricans are still without power.

"Only Donald Trump could see the tragedy in Puerto Rico and conclude that he is the victim", Sen.

Trump tweeted Thursday as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas. The midpoint estimate - 2,975 deaths - has been accepted by the government of Puerto Rico as the official death toll. He told one adviser he felt that he media "would stop at nothing" to undermine him and blamed local authorities for an inept response. Harvard's report, which was based on systematic household surveys throughout Puerto Rico, reached a estimate of 4,645 storm-related deaths between September and December 2017, many as a result of "delayed or interrupted health care".

The elderly and impoverished were hardest hit by the hurricane. Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover.

Trump's comments drew swift criticism from elected officials and residents of the island, where blackouts remain common, 60,000 homes still have makeshift roofs and 13 percent of municipalities lack stable phone or internet service.

Maria hit previous year as Trump was feeling positive about the handling of massive hurricanes in Florida and Texas and hoping to use those efforts to stem a tide of negative press.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines say that these indirect deaths should be counted in disaster totals, but the GWU report found that "many physicians were not oriented in the appropriate certification protocol" and that "most physicians have no formal training in completing a death certificate and thus are not aware of appropriate death certification practices".

Ricardo Rossello, Puerto Rico's governor who aligns with Republicans, said: "It is time to remember all those who lost their lives".

Next week, we'll have some stories about how Puerto Rico has yet to recover.

"The study is done by academics, not the Democratic Party", Bacon said.

President Donald Trump began the morning claiming that the numbers were made up, "fake news" and politically motivated.


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