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Thursday, 12 October 2017 12:31

We'll probably never know exactly how many people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Written by  Philip Bump
President Trump walks with FEMA administrator Brock Long, second from right, and Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan as he tours an area affected by Hurricane Maria in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, on Oct.

3. Trump was visiting Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. (Evan Vucci/AP)

When President Trump visited Puerto Rico earlier this month, he emphasized one metric in an effort to demonstrate that the recovery effort was going well.

“Every death is a horror,” he said. “But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering — nobody has ever seen anything like this.”

“What is your death count, as of this moment,” he asked the island’s governor. “Seventeen?”

“Sixteen,” Gov. Alejandro Padilla replied.

“Sixteen people certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands,” Trump said. “You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.”

Trump’s reinforcement of that figure had a very specific aim. His administration had been heavily criticized for its response to the disaster and, by comparing the death toll from Maria to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina — for which his predecessor, George W.

Read more at WashingtonPost

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