In a pair of tweets, President Donald Trump ignorantly rejected Puerto Rico’s estimate of 2,975 deaths that were hurricane-related after Hurricane Maria and made several false and misleading claims in the process:
- Trump claimed that “3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” stupidly claiming there were “anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths.” Puerto Rico had initially estimated 64 deaths caused by Hurricane Maria, but it has now accepted an independent estimate which says 2,975 hurricane-related deaths happened over about six months.
- Trump lied that the higher death total “was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible.” The study was commissioned by Puerto Rico, was independent and free from bias, and done by the researchers at George Washington University’s prestigious Milken Institute School for Public Health.
- Trump also lied about the study’s methodology, saying it counted all deaths “for any reason, like old age.” Of course the study accounted for the usual number of deaths which could be expected to happen from September 2017 to February 2018, six months after the hurricane, and they found that there were about 2,975 “excess” deaths that were hurricane-related.
On September 11th, at the White House, Donald Trump said that his administration should get “A-plusses” for their response last year in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and in Florida after Hurricane Irma.
But Donald Trump’s deceitful praise for his administration’s inadequate response to Hurricane Maria drew massive criticism.
“The President keeps adding insult to injury and I think his words are despicable,” Carmen Yulín Cruz, the San Juan Mayor told CNN. “He says he has done a good job when 3,000 people have died.”
On September 13, Trump lied and rejected Puerto Rico’s official estimate with two early morning tweets.
The president’s criticism of Democrats and of the report’s methodology were filled with lies.
It’s definitely not true that the higher estimate for deaths “was done by the Democrats in order to make [Trump] look as bad as possible.” That was an independent study which was commissioned by Puerto Rico.
Back in February, Puerto Rico made an announcement that the Milken Institute School for Public Health would be leading a study of the “deaths associated with Hurricane Maria after its passage through the Island.”
Although Donald Trump ignores the indirect deaths that were attributed to Hurricane Maria, the more responsible and decent National Hurricane Center cares about indirect deaths and they attempted to count them.
What we can learn from this is that Donald Trump is a liar, who doesn’t care that he failed the people of Puerto Rico.