WASHINGTON—Following the release of official reports that attributed 2,975 deaths to the 2017 storm instead of the previous estimate of 64, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he was revoking a significant amount of funding devoted to Puerto Rico after learning that Hurricane Maria had way fewer survivors. “The new data shows that there are substantially less people than we thought who are still alive, which means they don’t need as much money to help each of them recover,” said Trump, adding that he was slashing the $18.5 billion earmarked for the island’s recovery by the Department of Housing and Urban Development by at least $12 billion to $15 billion since “now they don’t need as much food and houses and stuff.” “We want to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from this massive, massive storm, but it’s too late to help people recover if they’re already dead. And, look, I’m not saying the people of Puerto Rico were lying to get more money, but it’s pretty suspicious that they waited until now to tell us how many more people died. At least finding out about the hurricane death toll now means a lot of American money will be saved.” Trump added that the people of Puerto Rico should be pleased about the reduced recovery funding, since there would be less U.S. money wasted there the next time a massive hurricane hits.
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