"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).
Late night show hosts like Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert used their media platforms to call out Trump's appalling and deeply insensitive response to the deaths that accumulated in wake of the storm. He suggested speciously that George Washington University - whose researchers analyzed mortality data in Puerto Rico in order to determine how many people died during the hurricane and its aftermath - created the numbers "like magic" through an unprecedented and unproven method.
President Trump has continued to generate widespread criticism for his comments about the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year, which he has called an "incredible unsung success".
Public health experts have estimated that almost 3,000 perished because of the effects of Hurricane Maria.
3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico.
At 6:17 a.m., Andrew Gillum, the Democrat running for Florida governor, tweeted: "No death is partisan and our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico deserved better from @realDonaldTrump before, during and after the hurricane".
But Trump, that official said, was unwilling to admit even internally that more needed to be done on the island.
Thursday's tweets drew the ire of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan, who has sharply criticized both the president and his administration's response to Maria.
The president raised eyebrows Tuesday when he touted the response efforts in a meeting to go over preparations for the potentially devastating Hurricane Florence inching toward the Carolinas.
In fact, the 2,975 estimate comes from an exhaustive George Washington University analysis of fatalities on the island that included people who died for lack of medical care, for example, because so much of Puerto Rico remained without electricity for many months.
They're counting deaths which took place five months after the storm had passed.
Trump's visit to Puerto Rico in October 2017 was defined by the moment he threw paper towels into a crowd of people as aid agencies and journalists warned of a major humanitarian crisis spanning the island of 3.3 million people. "How can we make it so more people die?' You think that was actually happening in the White House?"
"I agree I've made mistakes", Rosselló said. The original death toll was put in double digits, but recently a new study placed the "official" count at just short of 3,000.