Puerto Rico now says 2,975 people died on the island because of the storm. 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", he tweeted Thursday.
FEMA as of September 5 has paid benefits to the families of 247 people that the agency confirmed were storm-related deaths, CNN reported on September 11.
"The administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect". But one thing is clear: There were far, far more than 18 deaths.
Top Republicans broke from Trump's assessment.
Ryan suggested that he had no reason to dispute the death toll because it did not make the president "look bad". I toured the entire island. "Those are just the facts of what happened".
Trump's comments drew swift criticism from elected officials and residents of the island, where blackouts remain common, 60,000 homes still have makeshift roofs and 13 percent of municipalities lack stable phone or internet service.
Begnaud spoke with Abdiel Santana, who works with the Puerto Rico state police agency FURA. He doesn't believe any loss of life has been inflated. "I'll continue to help PR", he tweeted.
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As preparations continue along the US Eastern Seaboard ahead of Hurricane Florence, Mr Trump heaped praise on his administration's response to Hurricane Maria, calling Ms Yulín Cruz "incompetent". In total, it claimed about 20,000 pallets of bottled water that the federal government reported having in excess.
"We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able, we've got the finest people I think anywhere in the world", he added in a video message posted on his Twitter account.
"You will never take away our self respect. We should all have done more", Cruz told CNN's Anderson Cooper later Tuesday evening.
And FEMA Administrator Brock Long has said FEMA made changes to some of its priorities and procedures. "Or should we call it the dead zone?"
"You can tweet all you want to but quit making yourself out to be this hero. We are going to return those waters", he said.
With Hurricane Florence fast approaching the southeastern USA and due to make landfall on Thursday, Trump pointed to his administration's emergency preparedness, saying he handled the situation in Puerto Rico well, despite what critics said.
"Trump's malignant indifference to Hurricane Maria's catastrophic impact on Puerto Rico shocks the human conscience".
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló shot back in a statement that "the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and Washington is unfair and unAmerican" and "certainly not a successful relationship".