He said the toll was no greater than 18 when he visited the island past year and "did not go up by much".
Puerto Rico finally accepted the conclusion of an independent report on hurricane-related deaths, conducted by George Washington University, last month. "It is not", she said on her official Twitter account. Much of the USA territory was without power for weeks.
"This was a disgusting storm", he said. I toured the entire island. "So the United States has used Puerto Rico as a bank account and now turns around and says, 'Well, Puerto Rico was really screwed up.' No, thank you". He reiterated that there's no reason to dispute the numbers.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is locked in a tight Senate race, also split from Trump.
Not to mention that even today, parts of Puerto Rico are still struggling without water or electricity, which continues to put thousands of lives in danger. "The loss of any life is tragic".
Trump's tweets - coming on the heels of his defense earlier this week of his administration's response to last year's hurricane - was quickly lambasted by Democratic lawmakers, with Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., calling the president "delusional" and incapable of "empathy or basic human decency".
His comments run counter to how many locals and experts have assessed the federal government's response. "It was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about".
Another Trump critic, and a target of his tweets, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tweeted, "Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him".
"In a humanitarian crisis, you should not be grading yourself". "This situation what happened in Puerto Rico, it's far more complicated and its not the president saying I want this to be a disaster for everyone".
That could have been a reason to do more to help these American citizens.
"The time and heat has made it bad", he told CNN.
"Look, there was probably nothing we could do to save every life on the island".
President Trump denied the death toll of almost 3,000 from Hurricanes Maria and Irma, which swept across Puerto Rico a year ago, in a series of tweets Thursday morning.
On Thursday, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace called President Donald Trump's false claim that 3,000 people in Puerto Rico did not die as a result of the devastating hurricanes "a whole new level of horror". "But I reject the notion that this was at all connected to any political consideration". It is true that in the days after Maria, Puerto Rican officials very conservatively estimated the death toll at 6 to 13. Researchers found that Puerto Rican officials didn't know about death certification practices after a natural disaster, according to the study. "Just do it", she said.
He claimed the Democrats were behind the figure in order to politically discredit him.