Rejecting Puerto Rican Death Toll, Trump Falsely Accuses Democrats of Inflating It, “¡Amo a Puerto Rico!”.

President Trump on Thursday falsely accused Democrats of inflating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year, rejecting that government’s assessment that the storm had claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

By Eileen Sullivan, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Nicholas Fando, The New York Times
Sept. 13, 2018

President Trump during his visit in Puerto Rico last year.

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Washington — El presidente estadounidense Donald Trump acusó, en falso, a los demócratas de aumentar el número de muertos por el huracán María en Puerto Rico, pese a un estudio de su gobierno que estima que tres mil personas fallecieron por la devastación y sus secuelas.

Trump declaró, de manera imprecisa, que solo entre seis y dieciocho personas murieron “después” de que la tormenta tocó tierra en la isla, y que los demócratas inflaron la cifra al incluir “a personas que murieron por cualquier razón, como vejez” con el presunto fin de hacerlo quedar “tan mal como fuera posible”.

En Twitter escribió: “No murieron 3000 personas en los dos huracanes que golpearon Puerto Rico. Cuando yo dejé la isla, DESPUÉS de la tormenta, había entre 6 y 18 muertes. Conforme pasó el tiempo ese saldo no aumentó. Y luego, mucho después, empezaron a reportar números muy altos”.


Después agregó en otro tuit: “Esto fue hecho por los demócratas para hacerme quedar tan mal como fuera posible cuando estaba exitosamente recaudando miles de millones de dólares para ayudar a reconstruir Puerto Rico”. Y cerró con un: “¡Amo a Puerto Rico!”.

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Durante casi un año, la cifra oficial de muertes rondaba las 64 personas, a pesar de la abundante evidencia de que el número era extremadamente bajo porque muchos certificados de defunción no tomaron en cuenta los efectos de la tormenta, como la falta de acceso a cuidado médico. En agosto, la cifra se revisó y recalculó a 2975 fallecimientos después de que estudios académicos y otro comisionado por el gobierno puertorriqueño mostraban que la cantidad era muchísimo mayor.

Las declaraciones de Trump en Twitter se dan unos días después de que afirmó que la respuesta poshuracán de las autoridades estadounidenses fue “increíblemente exitosa” y “una de las mejores”. De nuevo tildó a la alcaldesa de San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, de “incompetente”; ella ha criticado su respuesta al huracán.

La reacción del gobierno al María ha sido criticada como inadecuada; la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA) tuvo varios problemas para enviar alimentos y para restaurar la red eléctrica en la isla. Apenas en agosto todos los puertorriqueños recuperaron el acceso a la luz.

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WASHINGTON — The presidential playbook during times of disaster is pretty well established by now: Consult with emergency officials (and be seen doing so). Express concern for those affected (on camera). Assure the public that the government is ready for whatever comes (whether it is or not).

But once again, President Trump has rewritten the playbook as Hurricane Florence blows through the Carolinas. While delivering forceful messages of warning and reassurance, Mr. Trump has also been busy awarding himself good grades for past hurricanes and even accusing opponents of inventing a death toll “to make me look as bad as possible.”

At a time when even Mr. Trump acknowledged that the focus should be on millions of Americans in the path of the storm, the always-about-me president could not restrain himself for long. Angry at criticism of his response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year, he denied on Thursday that nearly 3,000 people had died, falsely calling it a made-up number by Democrats out to get him.

His defiant rejection of the widely accepted count infuriated the island’s leadership and even some Republican leaders in Congress. But it was hardly the first time Mr. Trump has dismissed consensus facts that do not fit his narrative. Mr. Trump’s version of his presidency is one of unmatched, best-in-history victory after victory, never mind what history may say. What the people of Puerto Rico considered a calamity, he saw as an “incredible unsung success.”

“He pushes back against the data on deaths, not because he’s upset by the loss of nearly 3,000 lives but because he’s terrified of responsibility, failure and blame,” said Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer. “Were someone else president, Trump would be the first to tweet an attack on an administration that struggled the way his did after Maria. Now he imagines that others will attack him, so he’s acting first.”

Ever since the storm, Mr. Trump has pushed back against criticism that his administration was slow to respond to Puerto Rico, where the distribution of supplies, gas and food lagged and power outages lasted for months, particularly compared with a swift and efficient response to an earlier hurricane that hit Texas. It was six days after Hurricane Maria hit the island before Mr. Trump pledged to go there, even as he traveled to Texas four days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall. Full power was restored to homes only in August, nearly a year after the storm.

Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican ally of Mr. Trump’s who was praised for his own leadership during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, said that Puerto Rico was an “extraordinary challenge” in part because the island’s infrastructure was in poor shape to begin with and that Mr. Trump resented being blamed for factors beyond his control.

Few presidents go out of their way to admit mistakes or take responsibility when things go wrong, but Mr. Trump arrived in the White House with a never-apologize rule and a penchant for bending facts to suit his needs. When good economic numbers were released under President Barack Obama, he said they could not be trusted. Now that the same agencies release good economic numbers on his watch, he cites them as proof of his success.

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