Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Colbert deconstructs Trump's Puerto Rico death-toll tweets

Colbert deconstructs Trump's Puerto Rico death-toll tweets

US President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected the official death toll from last year's Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, saying it had been inflated to nearly 3,000 as part of a ploy to make him look bad.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Puerto Rico's official death toll from Maria, which the territorial government dramatically increased to 2,975 in August after commissioning a study by George Washington University.

"I was there a long time, there was a transformer fire and the power went out, when they started dying then?"

The House speaker said he had "no reason to dispute" the death toll.

Trump has particularly been irritated by video footage of him throwing rolls of paper towels to a crowd of relief workers on the island, according to The Washington Post.

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"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".

Late night show hosts like Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert used their media platforms to call out Trump's appalling and deeply insensitive response to the deaths that accumulated in wake of the storm.

"I disagree with @POTUS", Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, said on Twitter.

The GWU study concluded the initial death toll only included those killed directly by hurricanes Maria and Irma - either by drowning, flying debris or building collapse.

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.

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They extrapolated that data to estimate 4,600 people died as a direct result of the hurricane, including those who were not able to access vital medical treatment.

Florence had been downgraded to a Category One hurricane before landfall, and is forecast to significantly weaken as it moves across central South Carolina Saturday. "We have a moral obligation to do better, not only to finish the job in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but to prevent the same type of inadequate response from ever happening again". Millions of homes and businesses lost power after hurricane made landfall, making it the largest blackout in United States history and the second-largest in the world.

In December 2017-three months after Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico-Puerto Rican officials reported that 64 people had died on the island as a result of Maria.

The statement from the Milken Institute School of Public Health said the their assessment is the most "accurate and unbiased" assessment of mortality following the storm.

Every time we switch our focus off the island itself and onto Trump's political rhetoric about the island, we do a disservice to the people of Puerto Rico. He declined to comment even after reporters described what Trump wrote.

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