Ex-Clinton spokeswoman: Trump’s Puerto Rico claim 'grotesque'

Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod says President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE’s claims this week about Puerto Rico’s 2017 hurricane death toll being artificially inflated were “grotesque,” but also just another example of “Trump being Trump.”

Elrod, a former Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race MORE campaign spokeswoman, told Hill.TV that Trump has to make every major news story about himself in some way.

“He simply cannot stand the fact that he may not be driving the news,” Elrod told “Rising” co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on Friday.

“It shouldn’t be about him — it should be about the people of Puerto Rico who lost their lives and who are still trying to rebuild their lives,” she continued.

But the strategist added that sort of behavior is just “another reason why in a relatively strong economy right now, Democrats are going to do very well in the midterms.”

Trump on Thursday tweeted that “3000 people did not die in the hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” and claimed that Democrats purposefully exaggerated the number to make him look bad.

This comes after an independent study commissioned by the island's government found that an estimated 2,975 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Both Republicans and Democrats alike were quick to dispute Trump’s claims.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) was among those who broke with the president, saying that he has been to Puerto Rico seven times and seen the devastation first-hand.

Scott is currently running for Senate and has been distancing himself from Trump in recent weeks as the president faces poor job performance ratings.  

— Tess Bonn