FEMA director blames Puerto Rico 'spousal abuse' -- but defends Trump -- after 3,000 people die due to hurricane
Brock Long (screen grab/NBC)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Brock Long suggested on Sunday that President Donald Trump was right to doubt the hurricane death toll in Puerto Rico because some of the people could have died as a result of "spousal abuse."


During an interview on Meet the Press, Long was asked about Trump's claim that a study which found 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria was a plot by Democrats.

"It's frustrating, those studies," Long told NBC host Chuck Todd. "The Harvard study was done differently than the George Washington study, this study or that study and the numbers are over the place."

The NBC host interrupted: "He said Democrats did it to make him look bad. Do you believe any of these studies were done to make the president look bad?"

"I don't know why the studies were done," the FEMA director shrugged. "In my opinion, what we've got to do is figure out why people die from direct deaths, which is the wind, the water and the waves -- you know, building collapsing, which is probably where the 65 number came from."

"And then there's indirect deaths," he continued. "So, George Washington study looked at what happened six months after fact. And what happened is -- and even in [Hurricane Florence] -- you might see more deaths indirectly occur as time goes on because people have heart attacks due to stress, the fall off their house trying to fix their roof. They die in care crashes because they went through an intersection where the stop lights weren't working."

"You know, the other thing that goes on," Long added. "Spousal abuse goes through the roof. You can't blame spousal abuse after a disaster on anybody."

Watch the video below from NBC.