Outrage After Trump Falsely Claims That “3,000 People Did Not Die” in Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria

President Donald Trump has been “lying about Puerto Rico from the start to make himself look better,” and on Thursday morning Trump lied once more by falsely claiming that a widely accepted academic study showing that nearly 3,000 Puerto Ricans died as a result of Hurricane Maria was “done by the Democrats” in an attempt to make him “look as bad as possible.”

In a pair of tweets, Trump insisted that “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, after the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers.”

“This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico,” Trump added. “If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”

“This is what denial following neglect looks like,” declared San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz in response to Trump’s tweets. “In the real world people died on your watch. Your lack of respect is appalling!”

Conducted by George Washington University, the study Trump is attempting to discredit as a Democratic plot was commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, which revised its earlier Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975 after the study was published in August.

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 US government neglect.

“Only Donald Trump could see the tragedy in Puerto Rico and conclude that he is the victim,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter. “May God bless the souls of the nearly 3,000 Americans that died in Puerto Rico and may he take pity on your soul Mr. President.”