Speed Reads

hurricane aftermath

Trump falsely claims that Democrats inflated Hurricane Maria death toll

President Trump falsely declared on Twitter on Thursday that "3,000 people did not die" when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last year. A government report last month estimated that 2,975 people died on the island as a result of the storm.

Trump tweeted that when he left Puerto Rico after an October visit, "they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths," and he claimed that Democrats worked to report a higher death toll "in order to make me look as bad as possible, when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico."

The government report tallied deaths caused by both immediate damage as well as people who died as a result of the ensuing power outages and water shortages. It included all "excess mortality" between September 2017 and February 2018, and acknowledged that initial reporting drastically underestimated the number of deaths.