Trump shares Lou Dobbs segment praising his Puerto Rico claims

Trump shares Lou Dobbs segment praising his Puerto Rico claims
© Anna Moneymaker

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE on Thursday night doubled down on his statements about the 3,000 death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria last year.

Trump retweeted a segment from Fox Business host Lou Dobbs praising the president's statements. 

"The numbers were inflated and the president was right to call out the organizations who threw out science, statistics, and evidence to discredit the Trump administration," Dobbs claimed during the segment.

Dobbs pointed to the source of the 3,000 number, a study from George Washington University's Milken Institute, which estimated the number of "excess deaths" that occurred from Hurricane Maria, as opposed to normal population fluctuations. 

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"The finding wasn't a result of a death toll count, a body count, nor a study of death certificates, but a public health study that subtracted the number of people who theoretically should have died over the same period from the number of people who were reported dead over that period," Dobbs stated Thursday.

George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health defended its study on Thursday following Trump's tweets casting doubt on the storm-related death estimate, which Puerto Rico officials adopted as the storm's official death toll.

Lynn Goldman, dean of the public health school, had stressed late last month that the estimate was part of the study's first phase, telling CNN, "Among all the deaths that occurred, which of them were related to Maria, which of them would not have occurred if it hadn't been for the storm? We're not able to say that now."

The president tweeted Thursday that Democrats had inflated the estimates of the death toll. The president provided no evidence that Democrats intentionally fabricated the death toll estimates.

Trump has been roundly criticized on both the left and the right for the tweets, including by some of his strongest defenders.

Despite that, the White House defended the president's statements Thursday.

"President Trump was responding to the liberal media and the San Juan Mayor who sadly have tried to exploit the devastation by pushing out a constant stream of misinformation and false accusations," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN in a statement.

Updated: 11:29 p.m.