President Donald Trump said Wednesday the government is ready for massive Hurricane Florence and insisted that his administration's response to the devastation in Puerto Rico past year was an "underappreciated great job". As time went by it did not go up by much.
"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump tweeted early Thursday.
"President Trump was responding to the liberal media and the San Juan Mayor who sadly, have tried to exploit the devastation by pushing out a constant stream of misinformation and false accusations".
Trump falsely accused Democrats on Thursday of inflating the Puerto Rican toll to make him "look as bad as possible".
By some reports, Hurricane Maria's death toll in Puerto Rico was over 5,740, nearly 90 times higher than the government's official count of 64. "Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!" 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".
Trump began to focus on Hurricane Florence earlier this week, calling for an Oval Office briefing with the FEMA director to warn about the threat. North and SC and Virginia ordered mass evacuations along the coast.
However, Rossello's administration has not made public a government emergency response plan that officials revised after Hurricane Maria. The study said the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster.
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The White House defended the president. Also, 13 percent of municipalities lack stable phone or internet service.
This kind of magical thinking isn't new for Donald Trump, but given that Hurricane Florence has already made landfall in the Southeast, his ludicrous comments highlight the incredibly high stakes here.
"Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000." he said, going on to claim: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico".
Cruz, the Democratic San Juan mayor who has sparred with the president, tweeted: "Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him". Then came Maria and devastation in Puerto Rico, where a slow federal response was complicated by logistical concerns and preexisting economic and infrastructure deficiencies on the island territory. People who rely on ventilators to breathe wouldn't have died if their equipment had been operational. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for the U.S. Senate in a state where many Puerto Ricans moved after the devastating hurricanes, tweeted that he disagrees with Trump and that "an independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. Rosselló agreed".
"My teams knew about it but first they will say, "no we can not use them, ' months later water was no good for human consumption", he tweeted".
"Significant obstacles still remain", Rossello said, acknowledging that emergency protocols in place prior to Maria were inadequate.
The stockpile is believed to have been a part of aid package meant for the survivors of Hurricane Maria, which wrought havoc on the US territory in 2017.