President Donald Trump on Thursday engaged in fact-free conspiracy mongering when he accused the Democratic Party of fabricating the official number of people in Puerto Rico who died as a result of Hurricane Maria.
“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,” the president wrote on Twitter. “If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota seemed visibly upset by the president’s tweet — and she angrily shamed him for making up facts just so he could save face politically.
“We need to deal with the facts, which is these 2,975 people did not die of old age,” she said in direct response to Trump’s tweet. “That is not true. That is not true. They did not die of old age — they died of neglect. They would be alive today if they had had electricity, if they had been able to get their medicine, if they had been able to get water. Those are the people that are counted.”
The Puerto Rican government, after conducting a study with researchers at George Washington University, significantly revised its estimates of deaths related to Hurricane Maria upward over the summer. Although they initially said that just 64 people died from the hurricane, a more thorough examination led them to estimate that nearly 3,000 people died in the storm’s wake.
The Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria has been widely criticized, as it took several weeks after the hurricane hit to ensure that all Puerto Ricans had access to safe drinking water — and several months to restore electricity to the entire island.
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