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Cruz blasted Trump last September for not reacting quickly enough after Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and knocked out power on the island, flooded roads, destroyed bridges and left thousands of people stranded.

Puerto Rico now says 2,975 people died on the island because of the storm.

An independent study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government estimates 2,975 people died as a result of the hurricane, but Trump said that number is false. 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", Trump tweeted.

"He's talking about the one a year ago, because he's been tweeting a lot about what a great job he did responding to Hurricane Maria, that decimated Puerto Rico last year", Colbert said. Those findings, by researchers at George Washington University on behalf of the Puerto Rico governor, were markedly different than the government's initial count, 64. Numerous deaths were attributed to power failures and a lack of access to healthcare and clean water, according to a study from the George Washington University.

Carmen Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, admitted there were some bureaucratic problems on the island, but she slammed Trump's comments and described them as "despicable" and "adding insult to injury". While Cora acknowledged the government helped Puerto Rico, he questioned whether it did enough. For a hurricane, direct deaths include people who drown in a storm surge or flooding, are hit by flying debris or crushed in a wind-toppled building. "I'll take that but the rest of the 3,000 and plus more died because of the aftermath because of the lack of help that he gave", added Santos-Vasquez.

In recent days, Trump publicly lauded his own administration's response to Maria and privately groused over storm-related news coverage that he saw as overly focused on Puerto Rico, according to two Republican advisers close to the White House who weren't authorized to speak publicly. As reporters noted, Donald Trump appeared indifferent to the tragedy, praising Puerto Rico's weather and downplaying the death toll.

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Echoing Cruz's condemnation of Trump's tweets, Democratic lawmakers also expressed outrage that the president would attempt to downplay the number of people who died as a result of a natural disaster and USA government neglect.

"Some extra people will have died of old age earlier than they would have if there'd been no hurricane".

Ottmar Chavez, now administrator of Puerto Rico's General Services Administration, said FEMA reported that it had about 20,000 pallets of bottled water in excess in May this year, before Chavez was appointed.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a friend of Trump's who talks to him often, said he thinks Trump "sees every attack on him as sort of undercutting his legitimacy".

"Casualties don't make a person look bad", said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

But Trump has continued to boast about the handling of Maria, calling it "an incredible unsung success" as he warned residents of the Carolinas not to take chances with Florence.


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