House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had always been planning to convene a press conference Friday to talk about the ongoing recovery needs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands a year after two hurricanes hit the American territories.
"They say all these people died in the storm in Puerto Rico, yet 70% of power was out before the storm".
Trump said there were "6 to 18 deaths" shortly after the storm hit Puerto Rico in 2017.
"If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them on to the list", he tweeted.
The revelation comes as President Trump doubled down on his administration's response to Hurricane Maria on Wednesday and lashed out at the mayor of San Juan, who has been a critic of the effort, as "incompetent".
At 8:37 a.m., not long after CNN aired a segment mentioning the 2,975 death toll, Trump wrote in a statement on Twitter: "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".
Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is now running for the US Senate, tweeted: "I've been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand".
"We have a moral obligation to do better", she said.
'And like I said, hey man, thank you for helping us.
The adjustment of the official death toll followed almost a year of campaigning by journalists, activists and academics to get the government to officially acknowledge the scale of devastation because 64 people was always considered an underestimate.
Ottmar Chavez, now administrator of Puerto Rico's General Services Administration, said FEMA reported that it had about 20,000 pallets of bottled water in excess in May this year, before Chavez was appointed.
Hostin blamed the Jones Act, saying it allowed the US government to "pillage and rape" the island since its inception in 1920, before asking why Trump didn't have an equal reaction to Maria as President Obama did to Haiti, which isn't even a USA territory. "Very good towels", Trump said after his visit to Puerto Rico, where he was criticized for light-heartedly tossing paper towels into a crowd as if they were campaign swag. Many Puerto Ricans who fled from Maria relocated in Florida, a crucial swing state central to the president's election and Republican control of Congress.
Puerto Rican officials have previously blamed mismanagement on Fema, whereas President Trump has said authorities on the island were incompetent. I don't know if it was efficient, it was enough.
Puerto Rico's governor last month raised the USA territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975.
George Washington University stood by its estimate.
"The potential for government failure and the resulting humanitarian crisis on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands is high", reads the unclassified J-2 assessment obtained by the House Oversight Committee.