Trump Continues to Deny Puerto Rico Death Toll Despite Backlash

Trump promises all-out response to Hurricane FlorenceMore

President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into the crowd during his visit to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

As Hurricane Florence approached the Carolinas, the president picked a fresh fight over the administration's response to the Category 4 storm that smashed into the USA territory last September.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Puerto Rico's official death toll from Maria, which the territorial government dramatically increased to 2,975 in August after commissioning a study by George Washington University.

The president defended the federal government's "fantastic job" in Puerto Rico.

He added that the death toll had been inflated by adding people who died of other causes. In fact, the independent study was commissioned by Puerto Rico and done by researchers at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

"You will never take away our self respect". Then, like magic, "3000 PEOPLE KILLED".

Last month she described Mr Trump's handling of Maria as a "stain on his presidency".

One year ago, FOX61 interviewed three sisters who were in tears after they finally got a phone call from their mother in Puerto Rico after not hearing from her for weeks after the hurricane ripped through their neighborhood.

Hurricane Florence: What storm surge could look like on East Coast
And while the 2,000-plus cancellations from Florence is significant, it's far below what fliers have faced in other major storms. Hurricane expert Dr Rick Knabb warns: "Yes good news that intensity of Florence has come down, to lessen wind damage somewhat".

One of those joining Pelosi was Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress. Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, tweeted that he disagreed with the president. But as the hurricane began to dominate news coverage, the administration's efforts after Hurricane Maria came under new scrutiny and began to infuriate Trump, according to two Republican advisers close to the White House who weren't authorized to speak publicly.

"Although you don't believe it... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages", posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures. The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching.

"I have no reason to dispute those numbers", Ryan added.

"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). And that's really no one's fault.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reportedly told the CBS News correspondent David Begnaud that it provided the water to the central government in response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, but it is unclear what kept the water from being distributed.

Photos have emerged showing 20,000 pallets of bottled water meant for victims still sitting on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, a year after the storm.

The bottles were provided by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency and turned over to the central government past year, according to the CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, who first reported on the revelation.

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