San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was a particularly aggressive critic of Trump in the days and weeks following the hurricane; her response to Trump's tweet today was no different. "Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!" he wrote. The fake news media, like CNN, have attacked President Trump for disputing the "scientists" who came up with the 3,000 number.
For Mary Cassidy, the president is trying to make himself look better, while Puerto Rico is still a humanitarian crisis.
-Sen. Ed MarkeyIn a pair of tweets, Trump insisted that "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".
"When I left the Island, after the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths", Trump tweeted.
The report came almost a year after a much-maligned visit to Puerto Rico by Trump two weeks after Maria, where he implied that residents should be "proud" that the official death toll at the time was just 16 people, far lower than that of a "real catastrophe, like Katrina". They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila! By increasing the official death toll, he is not just making Trump look bad - he is making himself look bad, too, not only for possible mismanagement of the hurricane response but also for releasing such unrealistically low fatality figures initially.
In fact, the Puerto Rico numbers were collected over months by researchers at George Washington University's school of public health, at the request of the territory's governor. The death toll is drawn from multiple scientific studies.
Rossello said Puerto Ricans "do not deserve to have their pain questioned" and backed the study.
FEMA administrator Brock Long said Wednesday on MSNBC that "indirect deaths" are often more numerous than deaths caused immediately by a natural disaster.
Prior to the move, the agency had been storing water in 1,100 containers on the island at a cost of about $300,000 a day, Bahamonde said. Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents South Florida and is retiring from Congress, took the lonely route of rebuking Trump.
"I hate talking about politics and all that, but I think this is more than politics".
Trump touted the federal government's response as "an incredible, unsung success" this week.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who spent part of his youth in Puerto Rico, spoke on the House floor in front of a printout of the Puerto Rican flag, saying Trump is "delusional" and incapable of "empathy or basic human decency".