Trump Denies Revised Death Toll in Puerto Rico...Cue the Outrage

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President Donald Trump's false claim Thursday about Hurricane Maria's death toll won rare public rebukes from Republicans, at least the ones running for the top elected offices in Florida, where some 100,000 Puerto Ricans fled after the devastating 2017 storm.

Trump continued to cast doubt on the final death toll from Hurricane Maria on Friday, and distorted an academic study that estimated 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico in the months after the storm.

"'When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria.'" Trump quoted The Post's story in a tweet.

"I can't really comment because I don't know anything about it", Hatch said outside of a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting to consider Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.

Hundreds of thousands of water bottles meant for victims of Hurricane Maria are still sitting at a Puerto Rico airport - almost a year after the deadly storm, according to a report. "My only consideration was the well-being of the Puerto Rican people".

"The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous. But we will be there, and it's just a matter of time", Cora said.

Cora said Trump's words were "disrespectful" to his home.

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"FEMA put that water out on that airstrip for the goal of getting it out of containers, so that there would be no cost to us and no cost to the taxpayer", he said, echoing comments made by FEMA deputy administrator Daniel Kaniewski on "CBS This Morning" on Thursday.

In his 2010 book "Decision Points", former President George W. Bush reflected on his mistakes during Hurricane Katrina, a human catastrophe that became a political cloud that hung over the rest of his presidency.

Maria, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm, caused an island-wide power outage, nearly completely knocked out communications including satellite phones and left 80% of the island without access to water in the days following the storm. And I respect him. He said the death count had been inflated "by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible", by adding unrelated deaths to the toll from causes like old age. And like I said: 'Hey man, thank you for helping us.' He went down there, he did what he did.

Ortiz said Connecticut's senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal have stood up for the Puerto Rican community and have yet to hear from the president himself.

Cora said the issue does not lie with how many deaths were reported, but simply that there were people affected who were hurting for an extended period of time. I don't know. We will never know how many, how many we lost.

The hurricane's true death toll has fueled debate since the first days of the storm, in large part because of the near-unique nature of the disaster.

FEMA said in a court filing last month that Puerto Rico has received $3.9 billion in assistance for Hurricane Maria, compared with $2.4 billion for Texas for Hurricane Harvey and $1.1 billion for Florida for Hurricane Irma.

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