Gutierrez slams Trump for calling Hurricane Maria response an ‘unsung success’

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A George Washington University study in July found that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

"The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous".

As Hurricane Florence approached the Carolinas, the president picked a fresh fight over the administration's response to the Category 4 storm that smashed into the USA territory last September.

When Trump visited in October 2017, two weeks after the storm hit, the death toll at the time was indeed 16 people.

"We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan)".

The estimate of almost 3,000 dead in the six months after Maria devastated Puerto Rico and knocked out the entire electrical grid was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

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"Casualties don't make a person look bad", House Speaker Paul Ryan said. "So I have no reason to dispute those numbers". A spokesman for former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who won the Florida GOP primary for governor with Trump's support, said he did not agree with Trump's tweets. "Before, during, and after the two massive hurricanes, the President directed the entire Administration to provide unprecedented support to Puerto Rico", said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley.

The tweets drew the ire of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan who has sharply criticized both the president and his administration's response to the storm previous year that devastated the United States territory. "The loss of any life is tragic". "President Trump was responding to the liberal media and the San Juan Mayor who sadly, have tried to exploit the devastation by pushing out a constant stream of misinformation and false accusations". The study said the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster. And just as Katrina was a smear on the Bush presidency, Maria will live in infamy as a stain on Trump's. Nelson on Twitter called the comments "shameful" and said that "we deserve and expect more from someone who holds the highest office in our country".

Rossello is a leader of the island's pro-statehood New Progressive Party, which aligns with Republicans, while Cruz is from the Popular Democratic Party, whose members affiliate with the Democratic Party. The number was later raised to 64, but the government then commissioned an independent study to determine how many died because of post-storm conditions. Trump believed those recovery efforts were a success story he could use to turn the tide of negative press stories after a troubled August, said one official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

She continued, "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".

But Trump has continued to boast about the handling of Maria, calling it "an incredible unsung success" as he warned residents of the Carolinas not to take chances with Florence.

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