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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

JPMorgan: "Full global recovery" in 2022

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase Global Research says in a forecast to clients: "2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak."

The big picture: The bullish report sees "a return of global mobility, and a release of pent-up demand from consumers (e.g. travel, services)."

Inside Trump's hunt for "disloyal" Republicans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Donald Trump and his associates are systematically reshaping the Republican Party, working to install hand-picked loyalists across federal and state governments and destroy those he feels have been disloyal, sources close to the former president tell Axios.

Why it matters: If most or all of Trump’s candidates win, he will go into the 2024 election cycle with far more people willing to do his bidding who run the elections in key states.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

CPI: The new jobs number

Grocery shoppers in Washington, D.C., last month. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Consumer Price Index has replaced the jobs report as the most anticipated data drop by the U.S. government.

Why it matters: Rising prices tend to lower political fortunes. Washington and Wall Street are now waiting for the CPI number to flash at 8:30am ET around the 10th day of each month. This month's report — due Friday morning — will give a reading of how hot inflation ran in November.

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