Trump disputes Puerto Rico storm death toll, blames Democrats

Blanche Robertson
September 13, 2018

The last Category 4 hurricane to plough into North Carolina was Hazel in 1952, a devastating storm that killed 19 people and destroyed some 15,000 homes.

While praising the Puerto Rico response, Trump did allude to the lack of power that plagued the island after its hurricane. In August 2018, following a study from George Washington University, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló revised the official death toll to 2,975.

Carlos Mercader, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, outlined in a statement what he saw as FEMA's missteps in handling the water bottles. And the the federal government's relief effort was riddled with demonstrable failures: Despite receiving advance warning of the hurricane's likely landfall in Puerto Rico, the administration neglected to deploy satellite phones, generators, and reserves of food, fuel, and water in advance of the storm.

"Puerto Rico was very important". We moved a hospital into Puerto Rico, a tremendous military hospital, in the form of a ship - you know that.

"And I think his words are despicable". And the problem with Puerto Rico is their electric grid and their electric-generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit.

However, the report says, "the Government of Puerto Rico does not have control over the federal land" and was unable to get to the water.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Mr Trump tweeted. He said FEMA's work there was an "unappreciated great job".

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Sen. Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., sensed that Trump had made a similar gaffe Tuesday.

The president was speaking alongside the director of FEMA as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the east coast of the US.

Celebrity chef José Andrés, who brought a crew of volunteers to help feed victims of Maria in the wake of the storm, called for an "official independent investigation" into what happened to the stash of drinking water.

The president also released a video telling residents in affected areas: "Get out of its way, don't play games with it - it's a big one, may be as big as they've seen".

With the pending arrival of Hurricane Florence, Trump on Tuesday vowed that "the safety of the American people is my absolute highest priority" and that the government was "totally prepared" and would be "sparing no expense" in response efforts. "We were 'buying" water because they wouldn't give it to us".

Connolly's state is in the path of the storm, and coastal residents in North Carolina and SC have also been told to seek safer ground away from flooding.

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