Ryan: 'No Reason' to Dispute Puerto Rico Death Toll Challenged by Trump

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US President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected the official death toll from last year's Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, saying it had been inflated to nearly 3,000 as part of a ploy to make him look bad.

"I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success", Trump said. As time went by it did not go up by much. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", the president tweeted this morning.

Despite significant evidence showing almost 3,000 people were killed in the devastating storm previous year, Trump tweeted that the official death toll was a political scheme, two days after he was sharply criticised for saying the government had an "unsung success" in its response to Maria.

As the southeastern USA coastal states now face a looming threat from fast-approaching Hurricane Florence, Trump has for days revisited the US government's performance in handling the aftermath of Maria's stunning blow to Puerto Rico and other hurricanes that hit the US mainland past year.

In fact, the Puerto Rico numbers were collected over months by researchers at George Washington University's school of public health, at the request of the territory's governor.

But on Thursday, Trump clarified his rationale for considering the hurricane response a triumph of disaster management: Hurricane Maria killed (at most) 18 Puerto Ricans - all those other deaths were fabricated by the Democratic Party to make Donald Trump look bad. But we also lived through the horrific aftermath and we know the toll it took on the most vulnerable. "But I don't agree with a lot of stuff that he says about us". "Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!".

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Regarding Hurricane Maria, Gutierrez alleged that Trump's focus from the beginning "was on damage control from a political standpoint, not damage control from a human life standpoint".

The Trump tweet generated strong emotions of anger and sorrow. Elizabeth Warren of MA that there have been 2,431 applications for funeral assistance from Puerto Rico, as of July 30.

"I just think if we can keep politics out of it, help those people who are suffering, I just think that's a better response".

Cora called Trump's attempt to downplay the deaths caused by Hurricane Maria "disrespectful", according to the Boston Globe.

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas, Donald Trump posted a Twitter video in which he both claiming to have everything in hand and warned of catastrophe. Full power was restored in Puerto Rico following last year's storm only last month.

In the wake of the media reporting on Trump's tweet, George Washington University released a statement saying it stood by the science in the study. Brock on Thursday said that "if we made mistakes with the way a program was run, then we'll work.to get this corrected".