Florida Republicans push back against Trump’s unfounded Puerto Rico claim

Florida Republicans push back against Trump’s unfounded Puerto Rico claim

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is suing the Broward County supervisor of elections. (Rick Scott/Twitter)

WASHINGTON — Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis on Thursday pushed back against President Donald Trump’s attempt to cast doubt on Puerto Rico’s official death toll in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“An independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. [Ricardo] Rosselló agreed,” Scott tweeted.

Scott, a Republican who is running for Senate, is generally considered an ally to Trump.

The president voiced his support for Scott in a tweet last week, saying that he “is doing a fantastic job as Governor.”

A spokesperson for DeSantis, a former Florida congressman whom Trump has endorsed for governor of the Sunshine State, said the Republican hopeful doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated.

Scott and DeSantis are not the only high-profile Republicans to cast doubt on the president’s claims.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said during a press conference Thursday that he has “no reason to dispute these numbers.”

Earlier in the day, Trump had claimed on Twitter that “3000 people did not die” because of Hurricane Maria.

He also claimed, without evidence, that the high death toll was politically motivated.

Puerto Rico formally raised its death toll last month from 64 to 2,975 following an independent study from George Washington University.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has had a long- running feud with Trump over the effectiveness of the federal response, fired back at the president’s latest claims as well.

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