Trump rejects Puerto Rico storm toll of 3,000

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As Tropical Storm Florence inundated the Carolinas on Friday, President Donald Trump circled back to his claim that the official death toll from a devastating storm a year earlier in Puerto Rico was inflated and said the number of dead seemed to rise from double digits to 3,000 "like magic". As time went by it did not go up by much.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", he tweeted.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a vocal critic of the administration's handling of the storm, has cast blame on the federal government for failing to provide adequate assistance in the aftermath of the storm, and she slammed Trump's assertion Tuesday.

The Republican president went on to accuse Democrats of inflating the death toll to make him look bad, without providing evidence.

Last week, officials in Puerto Rico revised the death toll upward from 64 to 2,975 people. Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him. But despite that there's been a concentrated push by both parties to appeal to Puerto Rican voters and seek out endorsements from top Puerto Rico politicians.

"The safety of American people is my absolute highest priority", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "He has a golf club in North Carolina and a winery in Virginia, so maybe the American people in those states will get more of the president's help than my fellow Puerto Ricans did".

An estimated 2,975 people died in the Category 4 storm's aftermath when medical resources were strained beyond the breaking point.

Gidley cited studies that attributed fewer than 3,000 deaths on the island to Maria.

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"Hurricane Florence is looking even bigger than anticipated". Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover.

"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". And just as Katrina was a smear on the Bush presidency, Maria will live in infamy as a stain on Trump's.

The president's tweets came just one day after Nelson launched a new Spanish-language ad that features pictures of Trump and Scott together and says in Spanish "tell me who you hang out with, and I will tell you who you are". 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.

She continued, "But the President continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility, and the problem is that if he didn't acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of SC and the people of North Carolina".

Trump's comments also reignited a longstanding feud between the San Juan mayor and Trump; the president fired back, calling her "totally incompetent" and saying the US government "did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico". People who rely on ventilators to breathe wouldn't have died if their equipment had been operational.

"Only Donald Trump would try to make the deaths of almost 3,000 Americans into a story about himself and his political fortunes", he said.

"Significant obstacles still remain", Rossello said, acknowledging that emergency protocols in place prior to Maria were inadequate.

In a second tweet Thursday, Trump cast blame on Democrats, who he said are trying to make him look bad.