Stephen Colbert fact-checks Trump's Puerto Rico hurricane comments

Howard TerrySep 15, 2018

Ryan added: "This was a devastating storm that hit an isolated island and that's really no one's fault". Trump tweeted that the reported number of about 3,000 was inaccurate and had been pushed by opponents just to make him look bad. "And I came in and there was a crowd of a lot of people". A vast shipment of water bottles that were meant to be delivered to victims of 2017's destructive Hurricane Maria appear to be still sitting, unused one year later, on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.

But Donald Trump has continued to insist that the response to Hurricane Maria and the estimated death toll of 3,000 people in Puerto Rico was not his fault, the Washington Post noted.

After enduring months of criticism for not fully reckoning with the toll of Maria, the Puerto Rico's government quickly adopted the study as itsofficial death toll.

Puerto Rico's governor last month raised the US territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975.

After almost a year of controversy over the figures, the island's governor said the new estimate would now be considered the official death toll.

In the tweet, Trump quoted Rivera saying, "They say all these people died in the storm in Puerto Rico, yet 70 per cent of the power was out before the storm".

Noah and Colbert then went on to explain how the study done by George Washington's Milken Institute School of Public Health, found that 2,975 deaths were a result of the storm and its effects.

The key part of the research is an estimate of "excess mortality" from September 2017 to February 2018.

Trump's anger over the death toll drew swift rebukes from elected officials and residents of the island, where blackouts remain common, 60,000 homes still have makeshift roofs and 13 per cent of municipalities lack stable phone or internet service.

In fact, the tweet was so disastrous, it was even pushed back by prominent Republicans - which is a rare sight.

He says it is more robust than an earlier study by Harvard University that concluded there could be a death toll ranging anywhere from 793 to 8,498. He added: "Casualties don't make a person look bad". "It was devastating. It was a disgusting storm".

Things were further complicated because I arrived on the island with a cold, which quickly turned into a respiratory infection that landed me in a makeshift emergency room at a San Juan shelter. "It's an isolated island that lost its infrastructure and power for a long time, you couldn't get to people for a long time". "It's just what happened".

Ron DeSantis also disagreed with Trump's unsubstantial claims of an inflated death toll. Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents South Florida and is retiring from Congress, took the lonely route of rebuking Trump.

"Damn it, this is not about politics, this was always about saving lives", she told NBC television.

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