trump hurricane maria puerto rico tweet

Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Jason Reed

Trump declares himself victim in Hurricane Maria death toll

Trump said that the devastation was exaggerated to make him look bad.


Ellen Ioanes


Posted on Sep 13, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 6:37 am CDT

On Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted a denial of the death toll from Hurricane Maria, the storm that devastated Puerto Rico last September.

“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…” he said, apparently in reference to the official tolls that came out months after the storm.

Trump then blamed Democrats for spreading the death toll, saying it was a political move to make him look “as bad as possible.” He further claimed that he “successfully [raised] Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico.”

“…..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!”

The official death count increased months after the storm because the government of Puerto Rico originally did not acknowledge counts from news outlets investigating the impact of the storm. Puerto Rico finally accepted the conclusion of an independent report on hurricane-related deaths, conducted by George Washington University, last month.

“If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list,” said Trump, attempting to dismiss the long-term effects of the disaster, where the island was without electricity and water for months, as the administration struggled to restore power.

Trump’s handling of the damage Hurricane Maria caused was widely criticized, despite his efforts to paint his response to the storm as a success.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was a particularly aggressive critic of Trump in the days and weeks following the hurricane; her response to Trump’s tweet today was no different.

People online were aghast that the president would somehow blame Democrats for an accurate death toll being reported.

It was the second time this week that the president had made outlandish claims about Puerto Rico, which also engendered a furious response. Sen. Bernie Sanders had harsh words for the president yesterday. 

It was not until last month that electricity was fully restored to the entire island of Puerto Rico, nearly a year after the hurricane made landfall.

And yet, per his tweets, somehow the president is the victim in all this.

Share this article
*First Published: Sep 13, 2018, 9:09 am CDT