"I was looking for help and no one came", said Maria Gonzalez Munoz, who spent 30 days after the storm caring for her sister in her blacked-out home.
An independent study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government had concluded about 3,000 people died. Trump said there were "6 to 18 deaths" shortly after the storm hit Puerto Rico in 2017. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has stocked warehouses in the region surrounding North and SC and Virginia with 20 times as many meals and 40 times as much water as it had in warehouses in Texas and Louisiana ahead of Harvey. He further claimed that he "successfully [raised] Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico". "Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!" he wrote.
Last month, Hurricane Maria's death toll was found to be much higher than that of Katrina.
But Trump has continued to boast about the handling of Maria, calling it "an incredible unsung success" as he warned residents of the Carolinas not to take chances with Florence.
"As usual, what we need more of is sobriety and seriousness here, and that seems to be lacking", he said. Governor Ricardo Rosselló faced constant political challenges over the disparity between the official death toll, released within weeks of the disaster, and what was apparent to most scientific researchers and reporters who investigated deaths.
North Carolina TV station evacuates due to rising waters
A fourth person was killed while plugging in a generator in Lenoir County, north of Wilmington , WITN-TV reported. More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) slammed Trump, saying it's shameful that he would try to make the deaths of almost 3,000 American citizens into "a story about himself and his political fortunes".
A U.S. government report published this month concluded that the federal response in Puerto Rico was hampered by a lack of trained staff as well as by major logistical challenges.
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.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum said "no death is partisan and our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico deserved better from @realDonaldTrump before, during and after the hurricane".
Largely due to decades of neglect and years of fiscal crisis, the Puerto Rican electrical grid collapsed into the United States' longest-ever blackout after Maria hit on September 20, 2017.
As hurricane bears down on Carolinas, the waiting is over
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The storm crossed the Gulf Stream on Thursday and slowed dramatically, to just 5 miles per hour , as it approached land.
Levine, who expressed pride over Scott's "humility" in efforts to assist a post-storm Puerto Rico, went on to say he didn't blame the president for the deaths, "but fighting over it now is beneath him".
Trump was widely panned for his insensitive tweets.
Lee blamed Trump for what she and the others called an inadequate response to Maria and said his administration's response to that storm "is more than insensitive; it is incompetent".
Especially upset were GOP politicians in Florida, a state with a substantial Puerto Rican population.
Politicians and media on both sides of the political divide have criticized Trump's comments.
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The DUCHA** should be humane to our father who has given her everything and this media crap can stop!' Samantha tweeted on Monday. As for her British-based friends, it's believed she's trying to forge bonds with Amal Clooney and Victoria Beckham.