Trump Refuses To Back Down from Controversial tweets

President Donald Trump continues to stand by his criticism of a study that increased the death toll of Hurricane Maria to almost 3,000 people.

The death toll was calculated by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and was published in a study that assessed mortality between Sept. 2017 and Feb. 2018 against previous yearly averages.

The university’s study tallied the death toll at 2,975 “excess deaths” in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Prior to the release of the study, Puerto Rico listed its official death total from Maria as 64, according to ABC News.

The president contested this total in a series of tweets, one of which quoted The Washington Post, saying “When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria.”

Trump said that he was given that total, “long AFTER the hurricane took place.”

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“Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE,” Trump added. “Then, like magic, ‘3000 PEOPLE KILLED.’ They hired GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico.

“This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!” Trump tweeted.

Do you agree with Trump that the study is wrong?

The Milken Institute released a statement, defending their results, following the controversy surrounding the details of their study.

“We stand by the science underlying our study which found there were an estimated 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

“Our results show that Hurricane Maria was a very deadly storm, one that affected the entire island but hit the poor and the elderly the hardest. We are confident that the number – 2,975 – is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date.”

The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, responded to Trump’s skepticism in a tweet of his own, saying that “The victims and the people of Puerto Rico do not deserve to be questioned about their pain.”

He later offered to “walk through the scientific process of the study” with the president and said, “There is no reason to underscore the tragedy we have suffered in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.”

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“In the meantime, I hope you consider sending a message of support to show you stand with all of the US Citizens in Puerto Rico that lost loved ones. It would certainly be an act of respect and empathy,” Rossello said.

Trump’s persistent mistrust of his opponents and the media coverage they receive, prompted him to theorize early on Thursday, why these reports might have been put out.

His earlier tweets stated that he believed, “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.”

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