President Trump to visit areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week

President Trump seeks praise for Puerto Rico response as Hurricane Florence barrels toward Carolinas

TRUMP DISPUTES 3,000 DEATHS IN PUERTO RICO: The president disputed the revised number of excess deaths following Hurricane Maria, and suggested Democrats released exaggerated numbers "to make me look as bad as possible"- the co-hosts weigh in.

"Every death is a horror, 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's ever seen anything like this", Trump said during his visit (via CNN). That study - conducted by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University - estimated 2,975 deaths. "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.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports.

To reach that conclusion, researchers analyzed death certificates and other reports from September 2017 through February 2018 and compared it to typical death rates for that time period and other historical patterns.

The true human cost of Maria, and the chaotic federal response to the storm on the U.S. island territory, triggered a year-long controversy, which Trump revived this week even as another powerful hurricane, Florence, bore down on the East Coast.

General view of a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 23, 2017. That criticism has sharpened with the landfall of Hurricane Florence and allegations that Trump's administration is not prepared to respond.

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"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.

Trump has particularly been irritated by video footage of him throwing rolls of paper towels to a crowd of relief workers on the island, according to The Washington Post.

"They hired ... GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?)". "Ron is focused on continuing to help our Puerto Rican neighbors recover and create opportunities for those who have moved to Florida [to] succeed".

Almost a year after Hurricane Maria barreled across the Caribbean and devastated Puerto Rico, the island has become the focal point of a stormy political debate involving Congress and the White House over how the Trump Administration responded to the disaster. "So we're talking several days of power outages where they've already begun", Joseph said. They said, 'Throw 'em to me!

Carmen Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, admitted there were some bureaucratic problems on the island, but she slammed Trump's comments and described them as "despicable" and "adding insult to injury". "I'll take that but the rest of the 3,000 and plus more died because of the aftermath because of the lack of help that he gave", added Santos-Vasquez.

Trump touted the federal government's response as "an incredible, unsung success" this week.

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