Celebrities express outrage after Trump denies 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico

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The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital accused Trump of being "delusional". I hate that people that make it a political issue.

Despite significant evidence showing almost 3,000 people were killed in the devastating storm previous year, Trump tweeted that the official death toll was a political scheme, two days after he was sharply criticised for saying the government had an "unsung success" in its response to Maria. The allegations of sabotage were based on a handful of anecdotal testimonies from Puerto Ricans on the ground. Patt Kessler's Reality Check takes us through the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

Top Republicans broke from Trump's assessment. "So I have no reason to dispute those numbers". One year after the devastating storm, a precise figure is yet to be declared. I toured the entire island. "Those are just the facts of what happened". But it wasn't only the mayor who criticized Trump. "Our basic infrastructure was devastated, thousands of our people lost their lives and many others still struggle".

"Only Donald Trump could see the tragedy in Puerto Rico and conclude that he is the victim", said Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat. "I'll continue to help PR", he tweeted.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump hailed the United States response in Puerto Rico as "an incredible, unsung success".

His comments run counter to how many locals and experts have assessed the federal government's response. In an interview on Wednesday, Thomas Bossert, Mr. Trump's former homeland security adviser, conceded that the president's self-congratulation about his handling of the storms in Puerto Rico should have been tempered with compassion. "It was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about". You should not be just having a parade of self-accolades.

"Although you don't believe it... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages", posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures. "But I reject the notion that this was at all connected to any political consideration".

Trump also bragged about his handling of Hurricane Maria past year and said the death toll has been inflated.

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"I disagree with @POTUS", Scott tweeted. We are public health people.

"You know, 3,000, six, 18. We're not able to say that now", Goldman told CNN late last month.

The Republican president went on to accuse Democrats of inflating the death toll to make him look bad, without providing evidence.

"I spent a [sic] 5 days volunteering in Puerto Rico several months after the Hurricanes", Cox wrote.

People online were aghast that the president would somehow blame Democrats for an accurate death toll being reported.

The George Washington University study, requested by the governor of Puerto Rico, examined an unusually long period of time following the storm in an attempt to detect the hurricane's lingering, indirect effects on mortality.

Another study carried out by Harvard University and published in May estimated the death toll from the hurricane and its aftermath could have been higher than 4,600.