tweets, Democratic lawmakers also expressed outrage that the president would attempt to downplay the number of people who died as a result of a natural disaster and USA government neglect.

President Trump on Thursday claimed the number of people who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico "did not go up by much" beyond the initial counts that were released just after the storm and put the death toll in the single or low double digits. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", Trump tweeted.

Trump on Thursday tweeted "3,000 people did not die" in Puerto Rico and called the death count a move by Democrats to make him look bad. He also said he was waiting for Trump to respond to a petition to help Puerto Rico complete work on emergency housing restoration programs and debris removal.


The new estimated Maria death-toll estimate covers six months after the storm hit, not four, so immediately we're talking apples and at least some oranges. While Cora acknowledged the government helped Puerto Rico, he questioned whether it did enough.

Thursday, Stewart's spokeswoman, Daryn Frischknecht, said the congressman "doesn't have anything to add to the conversation" about the president's assessment of the death toll.

Throughout this week, the president has repeatedly defended his administration's effort in Puerto Rico, calling it it an "incredible, unsung success" and has renewed his verbal spat with Cruz, the San Juan mayor. Federal response according to Trump in Puerto Rico a success? "We see it that way". In response, representatives from the GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health said they stand by their science, and "are confident that the number - 2,975 - is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date".

"I disagree with @POTUS- an independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. (Ricardo) Rosselló agreed", Gov. Rick Scott tweeted.

"The moment is not to have political bickering or to argue about other things that are not important, but rather to focus on the pain and remember those who lost their lives and focus on rebuilding the future", the governor added.


Meanwhile, the number highlighted in the GWU report, which was based on an analysis of death certificates filed between September 2017 and February 2018, represents deaths "in excess of what would have been predicted if there had not been a hurricane, regardless of if a physician says it was related or not", Burgoa says.

"The aftereffects, people don't talk about that", he said. "I trust that this process was carried out properly", he said.

Last month, I returned to Puerto Rico to follow up on recovery efforts.

"To be tweeting about 3,000 people and be efficient, it's actually disrespectful for my country", said Cora, a former player from Caguas, about 20 miles south of San Juan.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum said "no death is partisan and our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico deserved better from @realDonaldTrump before, during and after the hurricane".


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