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Rick Scott breaks with Trump, defends Puerto Rico death estimates

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who’s running for Senate, broke with President Trump on Thursday, pushing back on the president’s claim that hurricane death estimates for Puerto Rico were inflated by Democrats.

Puerto Rico’s government commissioned an independent report that raised the death toll from last year’s Hurricane Maria to 2,975.

“The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching,” Scott tweeted.

Trump on Thursday accused Democrats, without evidence, of inflating the death toll in order “to make me look bad.”

{mosads}Approximately 1.2 million Puerto Ricans are now living in Florida, making them a key voting bloc heading into the midterm elections.

A Quinnipiac University poll from early September showed Scott in a dead heat with Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in the Senate race, with both candidates tied at 49 percent among likely voters.

Scott in recent weeks has been distancing himself from Trump, whose approval rating is 49 percent, with disapproval at 47 percent, according to a Morning Consult poll from August.

Trump has been largely supportive of Scott, urging him last year to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). Trump spoke at a campaign rally for Scott in July.

Updated at 12:53 p.m.

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