President Donald Trump, just one day after even Republicans criticized him for claiming nearly 3,000 people did not die last year in Puerto Rico due to two powerful hurricanes, shared a FEMA tweet warning against spreading false information.
Trump ended Thursday evening as Hurricane Florence began bearing down on the North Carolina coast by slamming former Secretary of State of John Kerry, the longtime senator and failed 2004 Democratic presidential nominee who might be eying a 2020 run. He started Friday with Florence dumping rainfall measured in feet as it made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, with a series of tweets urging people in the storm’s path to take steps to remain safe.
A number of the president’s Friday morning posts amounted to a running public service announcement in the form of tweets and re-tweets that repeated on a loop. Amid them was a retweet of a FEMA post noting the agency has set up “rumor control page” on its website.
“During disasters, it’s critical to avoid spreading false information,” FEMA wrote.
Trump sharing that message is nothing but ironic, given how fast and loose he is with truth and facts.
As of Aug. 1, he had made 4,229 “Trumpian claims,” according to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker staff. In June and July alone, he uttered 978. Overall, the newspaper concluded he had may nearly eight questionable claims per day as of Aug. 1.
At a campaign rally last week, 68 percent of the 88 factual claims uttered by Trump were deemed by the Fact Checker staff to be, as they wrote “false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.”
And just Thursday, Trump accused Puerto Rican officials and Democrats of lying about how many people died there after Hurricanes Maria and Irma pummeled the U.S. island territory in a coordinated effort to make him look bad. He accused them of artificially driving up the toll by adding deaths due to “any reason, like old age,” contending “they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths” when he left after a post-storms visit. He wrote bluntly his view that “3000 people did not die.”
In the past, Republican lawmakers and other GOP officials have defended the president or tried to tamp down controversies spawned by his false or misleading statements. That was not the case Thursday, however.
“I disagree with @POTUS– an independent study said thousands were lost,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the GOP nominee who is taking on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, tweeted Thursday. “The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching. I’ll continue to help PR”.