On Puerto Rico, Trump Is Right

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US President Donald Trump has official figures which state 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of last year's devastating Hurricane Maria, saying the number was invented by political rivals to undercut his image.

"As time went by it did not go up by much", Trump wrote. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", the president tweeted this morning.

Colbert read Trump's earlier tweet on Puerto Rico in a sing-song voice, and then cited a George Washington University study that claimed 2,975 people died in the months after the storm hit.

The 3,000 number is an approximation from a George Washington University study that estimated how many "excess deaths" occurred as a effect of Hurricane Maria, rather than as a result of the normal life cycle on the island.

Around 1.7 million people had been ordered to evacuate, airlines cancelled more than 1,000 flights to the area, and up to three million homes and businesses were expected to lose power.

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Gutierrez conceded that "the massive power of the storm was compounded by decades of neglect from Washington", which he said "didn't happen overnight and didn't happen on President Trump's watch".

Thursday, Stewart's spokeswoman, Daryn Frischknecht, said the congressman "doesn't have anything to add to the conversation" about the president's assessment of the death toll.

It was that number on which Puerto Rican authorities based their official tally. Bottom line is, we are concentrating on what we call critical lifelines - health, safety, security. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, also a native of Puerto Rico, skipped the visit to gather supplies for relief from Hurricane Maria.

Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, shot back on Twitter, calling Trump's "lack of respect"appalling".

Trump's handling of the damage Hurricane Maria caused was widely criticized, despite his efforts to paint his response to the storm as a success.

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Mr Trump's tweets came as Hurricane Florence approaches the Carolina coast and is expected to cause risky flooding and tornadoes. Puerto Ricans are a key potential voting bloc in Florida's closely contested elections. Sober as the New York Times is in reporting Trump's latest big lie, it still represents in characterizing him how low we've sunk.

"I just think if we can keep politics out of it, help those people who are suffering, I just think that's a better response".

Photos have emerged showing 20,000 pallets of bottled water meant for victims still sitting on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, a year after the storm.

The governor of Puerto Rico, who commissioned that research, said he accepted the estimate as official. "I said it and I'll say it again".

In one Twitter post, Trump accused "Democrats" of fabricating the revised death toll "to make me look as bad as possible".

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