Trump Faces Backlash About Puerto Rico

Courtesy: Twitter

Early Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted saying “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, like 3000…”. Shortly after, he tweeted again saying “.....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. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”

Courtesy: Twitter

Back in August, an independent report found that 2,975 people had actually died from the hurricane instead of the originally thought number of 64. Experts have not disputed the second number. The reason why the death toll was so great was that after the destruction of the hurricane, the people of Puerto Rico were left without any support. This includes several electrical blackouts as well as lack of food and water.

Courtesy: Time

So why is Trump disagreeing with the number? For one, his administration has faced backlash for how they initially reacted. Many thought that they did not send out as much support as they should have. Yet Trump has failed to acknowledge that even going as far as to say Puerto Rico was “incredibly successful” and said his administration did the “best job”. He sees the rise in the death toll not as an independent study but rather a conspiracy theory to bash the Trump administration. 

His tweets from Thursday morning have caused a major uproar, even in his own party. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Florida Governor Rick Scott have both disagreed with him and recognize the legitimacy in the new death toll number. The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló, has also responded saying, “We strongly denounce anyone who would use this disaster or question our suffering for political purposes. I ask the president to recognize the magnitude of Hurricane Maria and continue working with my government to ensure a full recovery of the American citizens of Puerto Rico. We cannot allow the devastation of our citizens to be questioned and we cannot allow response efforts to be politicized.”

It is so important for the country to recognize the accurate number. Recognizing the correct number will provide the people of Puerto Rico with some sense of closure and allows the fallen members of their community to be represented. It also is important statically so they can better prepare if another event like this happens.