DONALD TRUMP has rejected the widely accepted death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria a year ago and claimed that ‘3,000 people did not die’.
The US president — who failed to cite any evidence for his claim — accused Democrats of inflating the figures to ‘make me look bad’.
His latest bizarre tweet came as Hurricane Florence was heading for the North Carolina coast yesterday.
Mr Trump (pictured) said: ‘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 3,000.’
Puerto Rico’s governor raised the official death toll from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found the number of people who died in the aftermath had been severely under-counted.
Yesterday Mr Trump’s claim sparked outrage in the US territory.
Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of capital San Juan, tweeted: ‘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.
‘Damn it: this is NOT about politics this was always about saving lives.’ She maintained the federal government’s response to the hurricane was slow and inadequate despite Mr Trump insisting it was a success.
Maria ravaged the island last September and knocked out the entire electricity grid.
Researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington DC said the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster.
■ STORMY Daniels dropped out of a scheduled appearance on ITV’s Loose Women yesterday for legal reasons. The 39-year-old US porn actress was due to appear on the daytime panel show to discuss her new tell-all book, which includes details of an alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006. But host Andrea McLean said ‘due to legal complications’ Ms Daniels was forced to postpone.