Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long echoes Trump’s doubts over Puerto Rico death toll

WASHINGTON — Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long Sunday questioned the relevance of freelance studies tying thousands of deaths to the aftermath of last September’s hurricane in Puerto rico, ringing President Donald Trump’s criticism of those findings as Florence continues to batter the Carolinas.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Long defended the president for his response to cyclone Maria last year and argued that findings from multiple tutorial studies were “all over the place.”

“I assume the president is being taken out of context there,” Long said. “I mean, I talked to the president on a daily basis this week, and the secretary of Office of Homeland Security, and we discuss what we’re attempting to do as a results of last year.”

“I don’t grasp why the studies were done,” Long said once asked about Trump’s claims that the study was “done by Democrats so as to form me look as bad as attainable.”

He cast doubt on a george washington University study, suggesting that researchers took into account deaths thanks to a variety of causes with tenuous links to hurricane Maria, similar to automobile crashes and violence.

“You would possibly see additional deaths indirectly occur as time goes on, as a result of individuals have heart attacks due to stress, they fall off their house attempting to mend their roof, they die in car crashes because they went through an intersection where the stoplights weren’t operating. … Spousal abuse goes through the roof. You can’t blame spousal abuse once a disaster on anybody,” Long said on “Meet the Press.”

He contended that the crucial figure is “direct deaths – that is that the wind, the water and also the waves, buildings collapsing.”

Long’s remarks came once Trump on thursday denied large-scale casualties from hurricane Maria. “3000 people didn’t die within the 2 hurricanes that hit Puerto rico,” Trump tweeted. “When I left the Island, once the storm had hit, that they had anyplace from 6 to eighteen deaths.”

Trump conjointly claimed that “if an individual died for any reason, like old age,” the researchers would “just add them onto the list.”

Long on Sunday also denied reports that Secretary of homeland security Kirstjen Nielsen recently asked him to step down within the midst of an investigation into whether he misused government vehicles in traveling to and from his range in North geographic area on the weekends.

Politico initial reported the existence of the investigation, and also the Wall Street Journal reported late friday that the White House has mentioned replacing Long even as he ready to face down Florence.

Telling NBC’s Chuck Todd that he won’t resign, Long defended his conduct.

“Let ME plow ahead and clear up all the news. Secretary Nielsen has ne’er asked ME to resign. we’ve got a really purposeful and skilled relationship we speak daily. we are each whole centered on Florence,” he said.

“I have a very vital and important role to create sure this government works on the nation’s worse day through continuity in government. These vehicles area unit designed to produce secure communications and also the program was truly developed in 2008 — it ran for me identical way it’s run anybody else. Its my understanding that perhaps some policies weren’t developed around these vehicles that we will clear up.”

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