Trump tweeted the estimated death toll, provided by the Puerto Rican governor's office and based on the findings of an independent study, erroneously counted deaths from old age in the number of clear casualties of the hurricane. As time went by, it did not go up by that much. He tweeted that it was only later that Democrats inflated the death toll to "really large numbers, like 3000" just to make him look bad.
President Donald Trump on Thursday denied the massive death toll estimate in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria a year ago, claiming without evidence that Democrats invented the numbers "to make me look as bad as possible".
FEMA, the agency in charge of coordinating the federal response to Florence, was criticized past year for its handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican government updated the official death toll from 64 to 2,975 last month after Milken researchers released a highly anticipated report analyzing death certificates between September 2017, when the hurricane made landfall, and February 2018. "It was the worst humanitarian crisis in modern American history and many, many people impacted by this storm point to government inaction as the cause of death", Ocasio-Cortez, a self-identified Democratic Socialist, said on CNN's "State of the Union".
He said it was "not helpful" for either the president or one of his chief critics on the administration's response, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, "to be talking about it in a political way". Puerto Rico was also without power for months.
"I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful".
Following trump's Friday night tweets, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello had harsh words fro the president.
Trump @realDonaldTrump "When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria".
Abby Huntsman agreed that Trump's tweets were insensitive, saying the focus should be on what happened in Puerto Rico and not Trump's ego.
Trump's comments come as Hurricane Florence, now a category 2 storm, hurtles towards the Carolina coast, threatening millions in its path.
And House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said, "I have no reason to dispute these numbers".