President Trump Says Hurricane Maria Death Toll Rose Like 'Magic'

Massive stockpile of water has sat undistributed on Puerto Rican tarmac for almost a year

United States President Donald Trump has disputed official findings that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of last year's hurricane.

President Trump posted several tweets Thursday morning questioning the death tolls reported out of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.

"I was there a long time, there was a transformer fire and the power went out, when they started dying then?"

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump boasted about his administration's response to Maria: "Puerto Rico was incredibly successful", Trump said, pointing to some of the problems the island had before the hurricane. "Before, during, and after the two massive hurricanes, the President directed the entire Administration to provide unprecedented support to Puerto Rico", White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said. Mr. Trump said the higher Estimates "were done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible".

August 28, the government of Puerto Rico officially announced the death toll from Hurricane Maria as 2,975 making it the most severe natural disaster in the island's history.

Colbert highlighted how this story about the death-toll was not front-page news because of "all the other bad news about Donald Trump" but now became front-page worthy after trump himself brought it up. A separate study conducted by Harvard University researchers produced an estimate of more than 4,000, though there was a significant variation on the actual death total.

Ahead of Florence striking the USA east coast, Mr Trump spoke with political leaders in the Carolinas and offered "whatever is needed", Sarah Sanders, the White House spokesman, said.

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"Every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous - hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here, with really a storm that was just totally overpowering, nobody's ever seen anything like this", Trump said during his visit (via CNN). I hate that people that make it a political issue.

"That's the official death toll, you lunatic", Meyers said.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz responded: "Simply put: delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality". Bill Nelson released a Spanish language video tying Gov. Rick Scott to President Trump - and one day after Scott criticized Trump over the president's denial of Hurricane Maria casualties - Scott released his own Spanish language ad distancing himself from Trump.

"We stand by the science underlying our study which found there were an estimated 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria", they wrote.

Evan Vucci/APTrump tosses rolls of paper towels like basketballs to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. "I've been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand".

"But the President continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility, and the problem is that if he didn't acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of SC and the people of North Carolina", Cruz said.

The updated tally would make Maria one of the deadliest single-disaster events in recent US history.

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