The number of almost 3,000 was released last month after an independent study by the George Washington University (GWU) in July, which was commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico. This number included deaths that were indirectly related to the storm.
Trump's latest grumbling on the Maria death toll comes as Tropical Storm Florence inundates the Carolinas, killing at least four people.
However, that figure wasn't good enough for U.S. President Donald Trump. But Trump, whose efforts to help the island territory recover have been persistently criticized, has repeatedly questioned that number over the last couple of days. Even then, it was obvious that the real death toll was far higher, and that Puerto Rican leadership was ill-equipped to gather an accurate count.
Gerald Herbert/APResidents line up gas cans as they wait for a gas truck to service an empty gas station, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Loiza, Puerto Rico, September 24, 2017.
One year ago, FOX61 interviewed three sisters who were in tears after they finally got a phone call from their mother in Puerto Rico after not hearing from her for weeks after the hurricane ripped through their neighborhood. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER - NO WAY!The George Washington University study Puerto Rico commissioned - after many months of public complaints that casualties from the storm had been under-counted - compared the total number of deaths in the months following Hurricane Maria with historical patterns and demographic trends. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!' Trump wrote.
The team, which worked independently of the Puerto Rican government, looked at death certificates, spoke to funeral home directors and interviewed doctors, health officials, hospital directors and forensic pathologists to reach their conclusion.
"I just wanna state that not only is this a sickening tweet, [but] it is in no way true", the comedian said during his opening monologue on Thursday night.
Cruz maintains the federal government's response to the hurricane was slow and inadequate while Trump said it was a success.
Earlier this week, President Trump was bashed by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin after the president said the federal government did a "fantastic job in Puerto Rico". He has since sought to minimise the death toll.
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