Donald Trump's hurricane tweets show he can always go lower

On Thursday morning, ...

Posted: Sep 14, 2018 2:41 PM
Updated: Sep 14, 2018 2:41 PM

On Thursday morning, Donald Trump tweeted:

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. 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 3000. This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!"

Accidents, disasters and safety

Caribbean

Continents and regions

Deaths and fatalities

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Hurricane Maria

Hurricanes

Latin America

Natural disasters

North America

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Puerto Rico

Severe weather

Society

The Americas

Tropical storms

United States

US Democratic Party

US federal government

US political parties

Weather

White House

So ... the President of the United States is suggesting that the Puerto Rican government -- either in cahoots with or under pressure from Democrats -- inflated the death toll of Hurricane Maria solely in order to make him look bad.

And he is making these entirely unfounded allegations as another hurricane bears down on the East Coast packing winds of more than 100 miles per hour and the very real potential for catastrophic flooding.

This should not surprise us, but it should serve as a reminder that there is not a bottom here. There is no depth that Trump will not explore in order to further his own narcissism and victimhood. There is no conspiracy he will not embrace -- or, in this case, start -- in order to improve his own personal brand or further his own political narrative.

Let's talk about the facts.

In late August, the Puerto Rican government acknowledged that the death toll from Hurricane Maria was 46 times higher than they had previously publicly acknowledged. It was not 64 people who lost their lives in the monster storm but somewhere closer to 3,000. The new estimate comes from a study conducted by the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University, and commissioned by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. CNN's own reporting reflects similar numbers.

In a Facebook Live following the tweet, Rosselló defended the reliability of the death toll assessment: "Recognizing the various challenges, we wanted to have an independent effort and voice that would minimize the uncertainty regarding the excessive amount of deaths. At the end of the process, I evaluated the process in which this independent group of scientists conducted this analysis and at the end I decided to use the final number as the official number. I trust that this process was conducted adequately," he said in Spanish.

Earlier this week, faced with the reports of the greatly expanded death toll, Trump insisted that he had done a terrific job in the country. "I actually think it was one of the best jobs that's ever been with respect to what this is all about," he told reporters.

That was bad enough, particularly given the fact that a) we are talking about peoples' lives here and b) another major hurricane was barreling toward the Carolinas even as Trump was touting his own performance after Hurricane Maria.

Now Trump has gone even further -- pivoting from merely defending his performance to embracing a conspiracy theory about the actual death toll from the hurricane and suggesting Democrats are secretly behind all of it. As evidence, he offers -- you guessed it! -- absolutely nothing.

Trump's twisted logic goes like this (I think): The governor of Puerto Rico -- Ricardo Rosselló -- is a Democrat. Democrats always are out to get me. When I was in Puerto Rico everything looked OK and not a lot of people died. So now Democrats are saying lots more people died -- including people with no connection to the hurricane!! -- just to make me look bad!

That line of "thought" confirms a lot we already know about Trump:

1) He is paranoid and often believes everyone who is not his staunchest ally is secretly plotting to "get" him.

2) He views everything through the lens of politics and party. Because Rosselló or San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has criticized Trump's response, are Democrats, they must be willing to do whatever it takes to make the President look bad.

3) He makes everything -- including natural disasters -- about him.

That last point that, I think, is the most remarkable and frightening. To believe what Trump apparently does about the death toll from Hurricane Maria, you have to also believe that the governor of Puerto Rico commissioned a study from an independent group with the express purpose of embarrassing Trump. And that a respected center at George Washington University lied about their estimates of how many people died due to Maria solely to make Trump look bad.

That's an extraordinary level of narcissism. To exhibit that level of self-focus even as a handful of states are bracing for the potential of a disastrous weather event over the next 24-48 hours speaks to how all-consuming that narcissism is.

"The victims and the people of Puerto Rico in general, do not deserve their pain to be questioned," Rosselló said in the Facebook Live. "I ask the President of the United States to make sure that all the agencies invest in the resources necessary to continue working favorably for the people of Puerto Rico."

Prominent Florida Republicans -- including Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio -- sent tweets making clear they disagreed with Trump's allegations regarding the Puerto Rico death toll.

Not only did Trump think that the Puerto Rican government is unfairly laying thousands of deaths on him -- and even making up many of those deaths -- he felt strongly enough that he tweeted that idea to 54 million people amid an onrushing natural disaster that is already being felt on the North and South Carolina coasts.

It's absolutely staggering stuff. And what's even more appalling is that Trump allies will try to dismiss the criticism of his remarks as nothing more than a confirmation of Democrats' ill intent and the rabid anti-Trump bias of the news media.

Which, of course, it isn't. This is about the loss of human life and a President too obsessed with his own image and his own political considerations to understand that. Or to grasp how picking a fight about the death toll in the last major hurricane even as the next major hurricane begins to batter the United States is the definition of counter-productivity -- not to mention political insanity.

There is no rock bottom. There is no lowest point. The depths just always go deeper.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 667262

Reported Deaths: 12737
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion913541660
Lake48729891
Allen36175646
Hamilton32489398
St. Joseph30361514
Elkhart25536420
Vanderburgh21343382
Tippecanoe20240205
Johnson16485363
Porter16077281
Hendricks15955302
Clark12079182
Madison11810323
Vigo11699234
Monroe10440164
Delaware9899179
LaPorte9838201
Howard9127203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7531147
Hancock7471134
Warrick7456153
Floyd7269173
Wayne6661192
Grant6465158
Boone618691
Morgan6135129
Dubois5942112
Dearborn551570
Cass5489100
Marshall5456105
Henry544395
Noble513878
Jackson465967
Shelby463591
Lawrence4197113
Gibson405585
Harrison404065
Clinton397653
Montgomery391984
DeKalb388278
Miami358463
Knox357886
Whitley352438
Huntington350877
Steuben340455
Putnam334660
Wabash333976
Ripley328062
Adams326349
Jasper319343
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261732
Wells259175
Scott252150
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings216944
Washington213327
Sullivan203839
Fountain202842
Starke190051
Owen184254
Fulton179937
Jay178828
Carroll176919
Perry174136
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161543
Franklin160135
Tipton150041
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96832
Brown95340
Crawford92613
Benton92513
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 978471

Reported Deaths: 17501
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1130371251
Cuyahoga969331881
Hamilton739231067
Montgomery47536923
Summit40720831
Butler35859531
Lucas35802720
Stark29602826
Warren22593275
Lorain22218424
Mahoning19586551
Lake18564332
Clermont18541205
Delaware16614121
Licking15096194
Fairfield14653188
Trumbull14437424
Greene13664221
Medina13531237
Clark12394256
Wood11670170
Portage11140172
Allen10822216
Richland10376188
Miami10065194
Muskingum8244117
Columbiana8174210
Pickaway8096111
Tuscarawas8083232
Marion8021127
Wayne7939199
Erie6972146
Ross6178132
Geauga6118142
Hancock6032121
Scioto600988
Ashtabula6002154
Lawrence527886
Union516741
Darke5052116
Belmont5000137
Huron4862108
Jefferson4843137
Sandusky4800112
Washington475596
Seneca4738111
Athens466449
Mercer459781
Auglaize456682
Shelby442679
Knox4056105
Putnam400593
Madison395755
Fulton383461
Ashland383083
Brown375252
Defiance374088
Crawford360198
Logan357673
Preble354187
Clinton342755
Highland328551
Ottawa325471
Williams303568
Jackson292046
Champaign291149
Guernsey288945
Perry271348
Fayette270143
Morrow261637
Henry247961
Hardin247359
Holmes244497
Coshocton241156
Van Wert230357
Gallia223938
Adams218339
Pike217328
Wyandot212450
Hocking195154
Carroll182143
Paulding161134
Meigs136031
Noble129233
Monroe117637
Morgan102220
Harrison100731
Vinton76713
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 64°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 64°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 63°
Breezy, Warm Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events