On Thursday he claimed that the death toll in Puerto Rico was a Democratic ploy to "make me look as bad as possible". That figure was then compared to the number of deaths reported from September 2017, when the hurricane hit, to February 2018, when the island still struggled with blackouts and a shortages of essential supplies on the road to recovery.
President Donald Trump said Thursday he doesn't believe 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico previous year as a result of Hurricanes Maria and Irma - a claim that drew swift criticism from members of both parties.
Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) said Sunday that the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria past year shows that Puerto Ricans are treated "like second-class citizens".
The study, commissioned by Puerto Rico and carried out by George Washington University, found 2,975 people died in the aftermath of Maria, a grueling six-month period in which many lacked electricity.
"This is what denial following neglect looks like", declared San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz in response to Trump's tweets.
Puerto Rico's government-led by a governor with the island's pro-statehood party who is also a Democrat-faced criticism for almost a year after the hurricane that it drastically undercounted the number of fatalities caused by Maria.
Maria, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm, caused an island-wide power outage, nearly completely knocked out communications including satellite phones and left 80% of the island without access to water in the days following the storm. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!' Some Puerto Ricans are still without power.
Connolly called the President's characterization of the federal response to Maria "monstrous fiction that costs lives".
Political officials from both sides of the aisle condemned the president's statements and said they believed the death toll. "I am begging. I am begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying".
Yet, Trump insisted Hurricane Maria was an "unsung success" and the revised death toll was some ploy by Democrats to undermine him.