US President Donald Trump on Thursday denied the official toll of nearly 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico, US territory, related to Hurricane Maria a year ago, saying the Democrats have inflated the figure to hurt him.
"3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico when I left the island, AFTER the storm hit, they had between 6 and 18 dead," he tweeted. "With the passing of time, it has not increased much."
3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000 …
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
"I raise billions of dollars to help rebuild." "And, after a long time, they started reporting really high numbers, like 3.000.This is done by the Democrats so as to give a picture as bad as possible of me while I successfully raise billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico, "he continued in a second tweet. And to add: "If a person has died for some reason, say old age, it has been added to the list." Bad policy, I love Puerto Rico ".
….. This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was able to raise taxes. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
At the end of August, Ricardo Rossello, the governor of the island, said he had "given instructions to update the official balance sheet to 2,975 deaths" after receiving a report he had himself commissioned from researchers at the university. George Washington to reach a realistic assessment, in the face of the controversy over the number of victims. "Any future discussion should be based on this report," he said.
The official record was previously 64 dead. But the researchers estimated that the mortality had increased on the island by 22% from September 2017 to February 2018, compared to the same period of the previous year.
4,600 deaths in three months according to an independent study in May. After this announcement by Ricardo Rossello, a member of the "New Progressive Party", Donald Trump was proud of the reaction of the authorities after this natural disaster. The operations following the hurricane were "an incredible and unknown success," the president said.
Another independent study of Harvard researchers, not commissioned by the Puerto Rican government and published in May, had concluded about 4,600 deaths in three months, according to a similar method.
Maria, who hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, left stigmas on the island for months, cutting off water, electricity, telephone and roads, isolating many villages.