Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Thursday rebuked President Trump’s false claim that Democrats increased the official death toll from Hurricane Maria to make him “look as bas as possible,” saying it “is a fact” that “the hurricane took the lives of 2,975.”
“The victims and the people of Puerto Rico do not deserve to have their pain questioned,” Rosselló said in a statement.
“Puerto Rico suffered a terrible tragedy at the hands of Hurricane Maria, and we strongly denounce anyone who would use this disaster or question our suffering for political purposes,” he added.
Rosselló pushed back on Trump’s assertion that “3,000 people did not die” on the island as a result of Hurricane Maria.
“The hurricane took the lives of 2,975. This is a fact, and based on that fact, we adjusted the official death toll,” Rosselló said, citing a government-commissioned study conducted by George Washington University.
“It is not time to deny what happened, it is time to make sure that it does not happen again,” he added.
Trump falsely claimed on Thursday that Democrats inflated the death toll to make him “look as bad as possible.”
“If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!” Trump tweeted.
3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
The Hill added:
Puerto Rican officials increased the death toll late last month after the George Washington University study found the number was significantly higher than the 64 deaths that had originally been reported from the storm.