MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace unleashed fury on President Donald Trump on Thursday for claiming that the almost 3,000-person death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was an inflated number promoted by Democrats.
Trump tweeted the estimated death toll, provided by the Puerto Rican governor's office and based on the findings of an independent study, erroneously counted deaths from old age in the number of clear casualties of the hurricane.
Today, I am thinking of all the Puerto Ricans I met in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last October ― strong-willed and determined to survive its destruction without knowing that what lay ahead were months of darkness, hunger, medical crises and calls for help left unanswered. He falsely claimed the number had been inflated by Democrats "in order to make me look as bad as possible".
Trump's comment renewed criticism of the government's response to two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico a year ago.
The White House, while describing any death from the hurricane as "a horror", sought to defend Trump's handling of the disaster, saying he had "directed the entire administration to provide unprecedented support to Puerto Rico". A separate study conducted by Harvard University researchers produced an estimate of more than 4,000, though there was a significant variation on the actual death total.
Intensifying Hurricane Florence Could Strike US Southeast
Price gouging amid natural disasters and other emergencies should be reported to state attorneys general. Roy Cooper said his state was "in the bullseye" of the storm and urged people to "get ready now".
The Comedy Central star thought this conflict between Trump and a death toll study was "inevitable".
But Trump suggested Friday that it was questionable that the Puerto Rican government commissioned the study from an outside group. "I ask the president to recognize the magnitude of Hurricane Maria and continue working with my government to ensure a full recovery of the American citizens of Puerto Rico".
Florence had been downgraded to a Category One hurricane before landfall, and is forecast to significantly weaken as it moves across central South Carolina Saturday.
The whole kerfuffle started with another, earlier tweet where Trump wrote, "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico". We still. you see the hurricanes forming now.
"They hired.GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?)", Trump added.
Trump earned some heavy criticism for those remarks, including from the outspoken mayor of the capital San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, on Tuesday night. "We are confident that the number - 2,975 - is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date", the school said in a statement.