'Incredibly Distasteful': 'Outnumbered' on Trump Casting Doubt on Hurricane Maria Death Toll

White House defends Trump on Puerto Rico death toll claim

White House defends Pres. Trump on Puerto Rico death toll claim

President Trump has aggressively defended the administration's response to last year's hurricanes and called the efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico an "unsung success".

Trump, who famously DVRs news programs for later viewing, must have finally caught up with the controversy caused by comments he made on Tuesday in which he said his response to Hurricane Maria was "tremendous".

Puerto Rico's governor raised the United States territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found the number of people who died in the aftermath had been severely under-counted. He accused them of artificially driving up the toll by adding deaths due to "any reason, like old age", contending "they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths" when he left after a post-storm visit. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has stocked warehouses in the region surrounding North and SC and Virginia with 20 times as many meals and 40 times as much water as it had in warehouses in Texas and Louisiana ahead of Harvey. He went on to accuse Democrats of inflating the numbers to make him look bad. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!'

"So now America isn't just dealing with Hurricane Florence, it also has to deal with Shitstorm Donald", he said.

"We stand by the science underlying our study", the statement said.

State and local officials are responsible for establishing death tolls, not the federal government.

Trump visited the island on October 3, when the death toll was listed at 16, and he congratulated the island on avoiding "a real catastrophe like Katrina". Ocasio-Cortez's mother was born in Puerto Rico, so her familial ties to the island territory are strong. He said the latest figure was more accurate and stressed that every death in the six months following the storm was not attributed to the hurricane.

Navarro said Thursday that that was because the president's tweets were politically damaging for those associated with him.

At a campaign rally last week, 68 percent of the 88 factual claims uttered by Trump were deemed by the Fact Checker staff to be, as they wrote, "false, misleading or unsupported by evidence".

In the months leading up to Maria's approach, FEMA had 10,683 people on hand, about 86 per cent of the agency's target, the report found.

"Physician unawareness of appropriate death certification practices. and the government of Puerto Rico's lack of communication about the death certificate process.substantially limited the count of deaths related to María".

The report was commissioned by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who faced public pressure after the original death toll was widely disputed.

Maria destroyed Puerto Rico's electricity grid, leaving the island largely without power for weeks and crippling its health care system.

"Damn it, this is not about politics, this was always about saving lives", she told NBC television.

Politicians and media on both sides of the political divide have criticized Trump's comments.

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