The Left appears to be slipping. The latest war of words between Donald Trump and the media managed to rage on for close to two hours before a Democrat, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) got around to calling the president a racist.
The battle is over a hurricane, but not the one that is currently battering the Carolinas and which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. The hurricane at the center of the storm, if you will, is Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017.
What began as a disagreement over how effective a job the Trump administration did in its response to the storm quickly escalated into a full-blown battle royale over the number of casualties. On Thursday the president tweeted out:
3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
There is nothing demonstrably wrong in his claim, as the New York Times inadvertently demonstrates in an article titled “Trump’s False Claims Rejecting Puerto Rico’s Death Toll From Hurricane Maria.” The article includes a timeline that affirms that on Sept. 25, five dies after the storm hit, the death toll was estimated at 16. It gradually rose in the months that followed, reaching an “official” estimate of 2,975 in August of this year.
Kennedy’s tweet made the leap from the number of casualties to their ethnicity:
This is what your math looks like when you count black or brown lives less than white lives. https://t.co/loYdbF4yLr
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) September 13, 2018
On the subject of hurricanes and death tolls, Kennedy and the Times writer might find it instructive to read an article published in the Washington Post on Sept. 12, 2017, occasioned by Hurricane Irma, which was threatening the Florida coast. The title of the article? “The deadliest period of a hurricane? After it’s over.”