Trump says Democrats inflated Puerto Rico death toll

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President Donald Trump heaped lavish praise Tuesday on his own administration's response to Hurricane Maria, a devastating storm that left almost 3,000 people dead and residents of Puerto Rico without power for months.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reportedly told the CBS News correspondent David Begnaud that it provided the water to the central government in response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, but it is unclear what kept the water from being distributed.

The Republican president went on to accuse Democrats of inflating the death toll to make him look bad, without providing evidence. That number is less than a Harvard study released in May, which put the number at 4,645. "I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success", Trump said. "Shame on President Trump for not even once. just saying, 'Look, I grieve with the people of Puerto Rico'".

Last month, the Puerto Rican government acknowledged that the death toll was much higher, and likely exceeded 1,400. But Lynn Goldman, dean of the university's Milken Institute of Public Health, which ran the study, admitted, "among all the deaths that occurred, which of them were related to Maria, which of them would not have occurred if it hadn't been for the storm?" And the problem with Puerto Rico is their electric grid and their electric-generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit. Bodies are lost; people without families die; it's hard to determine how many people have actually perished in a hurricane.

"Nearly 3,000 people died", tweeted Sen.

"But the President continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility, and the problem is that if he didn't acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of SC and the people of North Carolina", Cruz said.

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"We're talking about the fact that this government allowed its own citizens to die", Hostin said.

President Trump pushed a new conspiracy theory that the hurricane death counts in Puerto Rico are false.

"Although you don't believe it... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages", posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk through a neighborhood damaged by Hurricane Maria in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017.

Ms Cruz shot back: "If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success God help us all".

"The inadequate preparedness and personnel training for crisis and emergency risk communication, combined with numerous barriers to accurate, timely information and factors that increased rumor generation, ultimately decreased the perceived transparency and credibility of the Government of Puerto Rico", the study read. "Our basic infrastructure was devastated, thousands of our people lost their lives and many others still struggle".