Donald Trump claims '3,000 people did not die' in Puerto Rico hurricane

President Donald Trump left joined by FEMA Administrator Brock Long second from left and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen center speaks during a briefing on Hurricane Florence in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Tuesday

President Trump on Thursday falsely accused Democrats of inflating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year, rejecting a government assessment that the storm had claimed almost 3,000 lives.

Earlier this month, the governor of Puerto Rico raised the death toll to 2,975 from 64 following a study conducted by researchers from the Milken Institute at George Washington University at the government's request.

President Donald Trump has been "overly criticized" for his response to the deadly storm that struck Puerto Rico previous year, but neither the president nor his critics should be politicizing the tragedy, Rep. Chris Stewart said. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump has eschewed any blame for the slow response to the island and the death of hundreds if not thousands of Americans, blaming Puerto Rico's electrical grid.

'When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths.

Trump made the comments Thursday on Twitter as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas. "The loss of any life is tragic".

A defense, with a mistake: While on CNN, Rick Santorum defended the Trump administration's response to Maria, saying that while FEMA plays a big role, the primary responsibility lies with the "country of Puerto Rico". "This study, commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico, was carried out with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference".

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President Donald Trump makes a gesture as he leaves the stage after speaking at the September 11th Flight 93 Memorial Service in Shanksville, Pa., Sept. 11, 2018. "It was just such a powerful storm", the congressman said, adding that he believes Trump "has been, I think, overly criticized for his response". The parties are courting Puerto Rican voters who are longtime residents of Florida, as well as those who relocated to the state after Maria caused devastating damage to the US territory last September. "He has worked alongside Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (of Puerto Rico) to secure support for rebuilding efforts".

This admission is important, because it helps explain how death tolls work.

He was criticised for treating a visit to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane like a rally, mimicking a basketball player as he threw paper towels to Puerto Rican residents at a local relief centre.

The George Washington University study, requested by the governor of Puerto Rico, examined an unusually long period of time following the storm in an attempt to detect the hurricane's lingering, indirect effects on mortality.

That includes one report that estimated the death toll was 2,975 - a figure that the government of Puerto Rico has adopted as the official count.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a frequent critic of Trump, was appalled by his latest message.

"Only Donald Trump could see the tragedy in Puerto Rico and conclude that he is the victim", said Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

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