One of the most shameful moments in Donald Trump‘s presidency — and there are already many — was the horrific handling of Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico. The category five hurricane hit the island on September 16, 2017. Trump infamously barely mentioned the storm in the first few days and even attacked San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz after she cried on television, “We are dying and you are killing us with the inefficiency.”
Trump also said the mayors and “others in Puerto Rico…want everything to be done for them.”
Months later, the island was still devastated, but the Trump administration and Puerto Rico’s government claimed in December 2017 the death toll was 64. Anyone with working brain cells knew it wasn’t that low, but according to a new study published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine that death toll was actually near 5,000. And that could still be an underestimation.
The study surveyed 3,299 households and more than 9,500 people about the deaths from September 20, 2017, to December 31, 2017. The survey claimed that at least 4,645 people died in the wake of Hurricane Maria, concluding, “This household-based survey suggests that the number of excess deaths related to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is more than 70 times the official estimate.”
Not even Trump and his minions can be so incompetent to be off by “more than 70 times” an actual number. In October, Trump bragged that there were only 16 fatalities in Puerto Rico, saying that Hurricane Maria wasn’t a “real” catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina. However, he hasn’t commented on the death toll since.
The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration released a statement saying it always expected the number to be higher.
Either Trump outwardly lied or he didn’t use his brain to know that considering the devastation, it would be impossible for the death toll to be 16 or 64. Whether it was the fault of Puerto Rico’s government or not, the incompetence starts at the top.
Our condolences go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Maria.