MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As one hurricane comes toward the U.S., President Trump is fighting back criticism over how his administration handled the last major hurricane.
Thursday morning on Twitter, he disputed that 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria one year ago.
He wrote, “This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list.”
But is that accurate? Patt Kessler’s Reality Check takes us through the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
The Trump tweet generated strong emotions of anger and sorrow. Not only because it seemed indifferent to Puerto Rican suffering, but also because it is demonstrably false.
In her Minneapolis coffee shop, Mary Cassidy is feeling strong emotions after hearing the trump tweet.
“It’s my family, and it was my home for a long time,” Cassidy said.
She says the president is tone deaf to peoples’ suffering.
“They died because they didn’t have power; they died because they couldn’t get their meds,” Cassidy said. “They died because they did not have water; they died because they did not have food. They died because they did not get the medical attention they needed.”
The Puerto Rican government officially accepted the hurricane death toll at 2,675, but President Trump calls the number phony. He says old people who died were “just added to the list.”
In fact, there is no list. The death toll is drawn from multiple scientific studies.
George Washington University found thousands more people died on the island after Maria than deaths in previous years.
Harvard University estimated hundreds died from no electricity for medical services, or hurricane-related injuries and illnesses.
For Mary Cassidy, the president is trying to make himself look better, while Puerto Rico is still a humanitarian crisis.