October 6, 2022

Trump just claimed that the 3,000 Puerto Rico hurricane deaths were faked by Democrats

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Donald Trump has tweeted a lot of horrible things as president, ranging from racist dog whistles to threats of outright war. It’s become almost passé to remark on them. The world has sadly come to expect the President of the United States to tweet like a cruel, bigoted bully and chooses to tune out the vast majority of his inane digital scribblings.


But today he blasted out a message to his 54 million followers that, without any trace of hyperbole, can easily be called his worst tweet to date.

Trump took to Twitter and denied that 3,000 people died from the hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico last fall. The official estimate of deaths is just shy of 3,000, with many attributing the tragic death toll to the Trump administration’s botched, understaffed, and underfunded preparation and subsequent relief efforts.

On Tuesday, Trump drew flak for calling his administration’s efforts in Puerto Rico “incredibly successful.” Now, he’s taken his gaslighting to a heinous new low, by claiming that when he visited the island, the death estimate was between 6 and 18.

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Trump claimed that a “long time” later the estimate turned into “really large like numbers like 3000.” He blamed Democrats for inflating the numbers to make him “look bad” and said it’s “bad politics.”

While it’s not quite the same as genocide denial, the mechanism and intention are the same. He is attempting to simply erase the needless deaths of thousands of innocent Americans because the truth is politically convenient for him.

It’s, of course, no coincidence that many of the deceased are Hispanic people of color, a demographic that Trump has made clear that he sees as inferior. By denying their deaths, Trump is saying they don’t matter and never mattered as human beings.

While such a denial tactic was inevitable from a president who regularly rejects reality for his own purposes, it’s still stunning to see it actually happen.

Trump has done a grave disservice to the deceased and is undermining the grief of the survivors and families of the victims. This, perhaps more than anything else he’s done, shows Trump is unfit for office. Not only is he willing to let Americans die, he’s willing to cover up those deaths to protect his own image.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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