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Democratic Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez says President Donald Trump is "dead wrong" when he claims 3,000 people didn't die from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year and when he claims the federal government's response was a success.

Every time we switch our focus off the island itself and onto Trump's political rhetoric about the island, we do a disservice to the people of Puerto Rico.

Rossello said Puerto Ricans "do not deserve to have their pain questioned" and backed the study.

Suddenly, the official toll was revised to 2,975, reflecting the results of a study done by George Washington University. By increasing the official death toll, he is not just making Trump look bad - he is making himself look bad, too, not only for possible mismanagement of the hurricane response but also for releasing such unrealistically low fatality figures initially.

The study, which was conducted without the backing of any political group, surveyed 3,000 residences across the United States' territory and found Puerto Ricans died at a much higher rate in the four months following the hurricane than in the same time period a year earlier.

As Hurricane Florence buzzsaws through the Atlantic towards the Carolinas, Trump sent out a pair of tweets on Thursday morning that denied the most recently reported death toll from the Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Mr Trump said people who died for any reason - "like old age" - had been added to the total. "Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!" he wrote.

Trump on Thursday rejected the official death toll in Puerto Rico from the September 2017 storm, tweeting "3000 people did not die". In fact, the President has instead sought praise for his handling of Hurricane Maria, saying earlier this week that it was "an incredible, unsung success".

San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said the president's comments "added insult to injury". Cora called Trump's attempt to downplay the deaths caused by Hurricane Maria "disrespectful", according to the Boston Globe.

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"I just think if we can keep politics out of it, help those people who are suffering, I just think that's a better response".

Republican Ron DeSantis' campaign issued a statement that said the gubernatorial candidate -- typically one of Trump's most-ardent supporters -- is "committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after such a tragic loss of life" and that he "doesn't believe any loss of life has been inflated".

Members of both parties on Capitol Hill disagreed with the president's statements.

DeSantis rode the president's endorsement to victory in the Republican primary for governor and has been one of the president's biggest backers in attacking the FBI and special counsel investigation into Russia-Trump campaign ties during the 2016 election.

Florida already had a large Puerto Rican population before Hurricane Maria, and thousands have relocated to the state since the storm hit the island.

Trump, who has struggled to express public empathy at times of national crises, sparked outrage during his post-Maria visit when he feuded with San Juan mayor and passed out paper towels to victims like he was shooting baskets. I mean, it's an alternative universe, so they are never going to hear about this.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a veteran Republican congresswoman from Florida, said Trump "has a warped mind that would turn this statistic into fake news". The revision was based on the findings of a George Washington University study.

Previous reports from the Puerto Rican government said the number was closer to 1,400.