Sep 13, 2018

What they're saying: Politicians trash Trump's Hurricane Maria tweet

President Trump visits Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Photo: Joe Raedle via Getty Images

President Trump set off a social media firestorm Thursday after claiming, without evidence, that Democrats had inflated the Puerto Rican death toll stemming from last year's Hurricane Maria.

The big picture: The death toll estimate, the product of a George Washington University study that was commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, was a conservative one. And lawmakers were not shy about calling out the president for his baseless claim.

What they're saying:

  • San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: "Mr. Trump, you can try and bully us with your tweets, BUT WE KNOW OUR LIVES MATTER. You will never take away our self respect. Shame on you! ... Damn it: this is NOT about politics, this was always about SAVING LIVES."
  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.): "You’re right, Mr. President. The Hurricane didn’t kill 3,000 people. Your botched response did."
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.): "This isn’t about you and it isn’t a political game. Nearly 3,000 Americans died in Puerto Rico. We need answers not heartless attempts to duck responsibility."
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): "@realDonaldTrump prefers his 'alternative facts' to the tragedy faced by families of the lost. Worse still, the GOP is determined to shield his insulting behavior from accountability. It’s time for Republicans in Congress to get back to performing our crucial oversight function."
  • Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.): "This is what your math looks like when you count black or brown lives less than white lives."
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.): "Your comments display an ignorance as large as the storm itself. The death toll was due to a lack of access to potable water and power, and because the nation failed to bring a sense of urgency to the relief effort commensurate with the size of the disaster — and still has."
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.): "Casualties don’t make a person look bad, so I have no reason to dispute these numbers."
  • Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.): "I disagree with @POTUS– an independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. Rosselló agreed. I've been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand. The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching. I'll continue to help PR."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 665,164 — Total deaths: 30,852 — Total recoveries: 140,225.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 124,665 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by early Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

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Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter Saturday the company is expanding access to its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir to include severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The big pig picture: President Trump has called the antiviral drug "promising," but the results of six clinical trials on this investigational medicine are still being conducted, so its effectiveness the treatment of the novel coronavirus has yet to be proved. The World Health Organization is involved in the tests.

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