Trump's Puerto Rico tweets draw bipartisan fire in Florida

Burke and Chris Rayner load generators as people buy supplies at The Home Depot on Monday Sept. 10 2018 in Wilmington N.C

President Donald Trump said Thursday he doesn't believe 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico previous year as a result of Hurricanes Maria and Irma - a claim that drew swift criticism from members of both parties.

Every time we switch our focus off the island itself and onto Trump's political rhetoric about the island, we do a disservice to the people of Puerto Rico.

Half of Puerto Ricans surveyed in a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll poll said they couldn't get enough water during the storm and were concerned about water quality. By increasing the official death toll, he is not just making Trump look bad - he is making himself look bad, too, not only for possible mismanagement of the hurricane response but also for releasing such unrealistically low fatality figures initially. As time went by, it did not go up by that much. They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila!

Mr. Trump inaccurately stated that only six to 18 people died "after" the storm hit the island and said Democrats padded the death toll by including, for example, a person who died of old age "in order to make me look as bad as possible".

In Florida, which was badly hit by Hurricane Irma past year and which received thousands of Puerto Ricans fleeing the devastation of their homes, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis - who has built his campaign around his adherence to Trump's politics - tried to distance himself from the president's words.

A Harvard University study in May said at least 4,645 died. An independent study accepted by Puerto Rico officials concluded that 2,975 people died from the storm and its aftermath.

Trump believed those recovery efforts were a success story he could use to turn the tide of negative press stories after a troubled August, said one official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Trump touted the federal government's response as "an incredible, unsung success" this week.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a Democrat who has sparred with Trump, quickly fired back, tweeting: "Simply put: delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality". "We see it that way".

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Cora told reporters he respects Trump, but noted that he doesn't "agree with a lot of stuff he says about us".

"I disagree with @POTUS- an independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. (Ricardo) Rosselló agreed", Gov. Rick Scott tweeted.

And, somehow, he played the politics card by blaming Democrats for the count, unbelievably making the deaths of 3,000 Americans a partisan issue. It was initially said to have killed just 64 people. It was conducted by the nonpartisan George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

"We deserve and expect more from someone who holds the highest office in our country", Nelson said in statement.

Maria hit a year ago as Trump was feeling positive about the handling of massive hurricanes in Florida and Texas and hoping to use those efforts to stem a tide of negative press.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a veteran Republican congresswoman from Florida, said Trump "has a warped mind that would turn this statistic into fake news".

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for clarification on Trump's claim of the billions of dollars raised.

State Sen. Victor Torres, an Orlando Democrat who is Puerto Rican, called Trump's tweets "painful and horrifying and completely unfounded", while also labeling Scott and DeSantis the president's "closest allies" in Florida.

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