Despite Hurricane Florence still beating down the Carolinas, the United States President, Donald Trump, continues to use Twitter to question the real number of deaths which occurred in Puerto Rico during last’s year Hurricane Maria. Members of his own party gathered plenty of criticism earlier this week for claiming without evidence that members of the Democratic Party ginned up the death toll in order to smear the name of the President.
This Friday, Trump used Twitter to yet again cast doubt over the estimated 2,975 people who were killed on U.S. territory by Hurricane Maria. According to him, the researchers from the George Washington University made the numbers appear ‘like magic’ by using and unproven and unprecedented method. These researchers used the mortality data and performed certain analyzes to determine exactly how many Puerto Ricans died during or after the hurricane.
Trump appeared to quote the Washington Post while he tweeted: “when Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria”. Another tweet said that “This was long AFTER the hurricane took place. Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE. Then, like magic, “3000 PEOPLE KILLED”.
He continued his tirade with yet another tweet: “They hired … GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?). This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!”
Until late August, the official numbers showed that 64 people died because of Hurricane Maria, despite some doubts hanging over this information. August 27th brought on an official statement from the Puerto Rican government which read that 2,975 people died, a number based on a study performed by the George Washington University.