In his Sept. 14 WorldNetDaily column, Brent Smith tries his best to defend President Trump over his insistence that the claim that nearly 3,000 people were killed in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria and its aftermath that came about by "magic":
The study was conducted from September, 2017, the month of the storm, all the way through February of the following year (2018).
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I read that some “3,000 people were killed by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,” I don’t expect a death that occurred almost six months later to count as one of the “storm” deaths. No reasonable person would.
In fact, according to Puerto Rico’s own records, the total deaths directly caused by the storm were 64. “The official government estimate of 64 deaths from the hurricane is low primarily because the conventions used for causal attribution only allowed for classification of deaths attributable directly to the storm, e.g., those caused by structural collapse, flying debris, floods and drownings,” the report notes.
Well duh! Isn’t that what “killed by Hurricane Maria” is supposed to mean? Evidently not, but every person who reads that kind of headline will come to the same wildly incorrect conclusion.
The vast majority of deaths were mainly due to the island’s already crumbling infrastructure and pitiful disaster preparedness in a place run by leftists for decades. That and the study also included deaths that occurred during the migration of Puerto Rican residents to states like Florida even months later.
And because of this “study,” done almost entirely by computer models on the campus of GW University and where “researchers” never once ventured to Puerto Rico, history will reflect the 3,000 number – not the 64. This will make it No. 2 among the U.S. hurricanes that have taken the most lives. No. 1 is still Galveston, Texas, in 1900, which claimed 8,000 lives.
I am not belittling any of the deaths from Hurricane Maria. But whether this study by GW was politically motivated or not, it certainly has given ample ammunition to the likes of CNN, MSNBC, et al., to further their assaults on the president.
In fact, the George Washington University study Smith (and Trump) attacked was not politically motivated; it's a statistical analysis calculating the bnumber of "excess" deaths in Puerto Rico after the hurricane. That study was commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, and it accept the study's funding that 2,975 people died as a result of Maria.
Further, while Puerto Rico was facing crumbling infrastructure before Maria hit, there seems to be plenty of blame to go around, and Smith offers no proof that it was "leftist" government officials who were solely responsible.