Trump disputes hurricane death toll in Puerto Rico

President Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd as he hands out supplies at Calvary Chapel Guaynabo Puerto Rico in October

On "Outnumbered" on Thursday, Melissa Francis said she doesn't understand why Trump weighed in on the matter, calling it "incredibly distasteful" to debate Maria's death toll as another deadly hurricane bears down.

Hurricane Maria killed 2,975 people in Puerto Rico, a long-awaited independent investigation by George Washington University into the 2017 storm concluded last month.

Hurricane Maria and Irma hit Puerto Rico a year ago and knocked out power in the US territory for months.

Had the GWU researchers done what Trump claimed they did - attributing any death to Maria - the six-month death toll from the hurricane would have been 16,608.

In the immediate aftermath, Puerto Rico officials had said that only 64 died from the storm, but news reports indicated that many more had died as a result of problems caused by the hurricane.

"Although you don't believe it... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages", posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures. "If he thinks the death of 3,000 people [is] a success God help us all".

She says the president is tone deaf to peoples' suffering.

Hurricane Florence began battering North Carolina on Thursday night, beginning an onslaught that will provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency a chance to fix its bruised reputation following the federal response to Hurricane Maria. Not only because it seemed indifferent to Puerto Rican suffering, but also because it is demonstrably false.

Even a few of Mr Trump's fellow Republicans have spoken out against him.

Browns don't lose, tie Steelers 21-21
Watt reacts after the Browns field goal was blocked in overtime during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Cleveland. The bottom line is that Conner can play, which allows Pittsburgh a level of power in their current running back predicament.

Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring from Congress, called the president's tweets "mind-boggling".

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat, said the president was "delusional". "We are confident that the number - 2,975 - is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date".

He added in a tweet: "The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching".

Ryan said the numbers were "a function of a devastating storm that hit an isolated island", and added, "that's no one's fault". And that's really no one's fault. "That is just what happened". These activists have not made any attempt to count the actual number of hurricane-related deaths.

Florence was to be the first major test of FEMA since its response to the Puerto Rico disaster, which was widely criticised.

A report released this summer by the Federal Emergency Management Agency identified deficiencies in the administration's response, including that the agency was not adequately staffed heading into the hurricane season.

The "historical relationship between Puerto Rico and Washington is unfair and un-American", said Rossello.

Puerto Rican officials have previously blamed mismanagement on Fema, whereas President Trump has said authorities on the island were incompetent.

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