The report came almost a year after a much-maligned visit to Puerto Rico by Trump two weeks after Maria, where he implied that residents should be "proud" that the official death toll at the time was just 16 people, far lower than that of a "real catastrophe, like Katrina". They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila!
A report earlier this month by the Government Accountability Office described the government as "down to the bottom of the barrel" in staffing by the time Maria hit Puerto Rico, citing a series of other hurricanes and catastrophic wildfires past year that overwhelmed federal disaster responders.
-Sen. Ed MarkeyIn a pair of tweets, Trump insisted that "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".
Santana's images appear to have been taken by drone, and he accompanied them saying, "Although you do not believe it ... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the people of PR, before the emergency of Hurricane Maria".
President Donald Trump is notorious for making false claims and denying any set of information that makes him look bad - even if it's from his own government.
Trump cleared his public schedule Thursday to reportedly track Florence's movements as the deadly storm approached. "It was devastating. It was a frightful storm".
It was that number on which Puerto Rican authorities based their official tally.
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In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were boarding up homes and securing possessions. Schools in affected areas will begin to close on Tuesday and lanes on some highways will be reversed to aid evacuations.
At the same time, the top Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, said he had no reason to dispute the official death toll, while Republican Senator Marco Rubio said tragedy should not be politicised.
Carlos Santos-Burgoa, the principal investigator of the GWU study and a professor in the Department of Global Health, said Friday afternoon that he and his colleagues were unbiased in their work and received no political pressure from Democrats or anyone else to come up with a high estimate of storm-related deaths. I hate that people that make it a political issue.
But that isn't how anyone measures a hurricane's death toll (including Donald Trump, who, during his visit to Puerto Rico, cited a death toll from Katrina that included those killed by the conditions that storm left in its wake).
Cora said that while Trump is president and respects him, he doesn't agree with "a lot of stuff that he says about us".
But Trump has continued to boast about the handling of Maria, calling it "an incredible unsung success" as he warned residents of the Carolinas not to take chances with Florence. "Our basic infrastructure was devastated, thousands of our people lost their lives and many others still struggle".
Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello said "now is not the time to pass judgment; it is time to channel every effort to improve the lives of over 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico".
The president defended the federal government's "fantastic job" in Puerto Rico. She added: "Damn it: this is NOT about politics this was always about SAVING LIVES". From September 2017 to February 2018, 2,975 people died, according to that study, which was commissioned by Puerto Rico's government. "I said it and I'll say it again".