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Cuomo accuses Trump of pushing conspiracy theory over Puerto Rico deaths

President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. | Photo: File / AP.

September 13, 2018 01:38 PM

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is accusing President Trump of "governing via conspiracy theory." That was part of a statement the governor released in response to the president's claim that 3,000 people did not die last year on hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Trump on Thursday tweeted "3,000 people did not die" in Puerto Rico and called the death count a move by Democrats to make him look bad.

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"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..." the president tweeted.

Puerto Rico's governor raised the U.S. territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found the number of people who succumbed in the aftermath had been severely undercounted.

Many people reacted to the president's comments, including Cuomo.

"The President's tweets about Hurricane Maria are a disgusting insult to the families of those who died and to all those who were left behind by the federal government in the wake of the storm," Cuomo said in a statement.

The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital says President Donald Trump is "delusional" for rejecting the official conclusion 2,975 people died on the island because of Hurricane Maria.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tweeted Thursday, "Simply put: delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality. Trump is so vain he thinks this is about him. NO IT IS NOT." She also tweeted, "Damn it: this is NOT about politics this was always about SAVING LIVES."

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello says in a Facebook video post in Spanish that there should no more questions about the number of deaths from Hurricane Maria and the process used to arrive at that number.

He says, "the victims of Puerto Rico, and the people of Puerto Rico in general, do not deserve to be questioned about their pain."

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has "no reason to dispute" the numbers. He denies the figure reflects poorly on Trump, saying, "casualties don't make a person look bad."

Trump's tweets came as the Carolinas braced for Hurricane Florence, which could drench the homes of up to 10 million people.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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