US President Donald Trump rejected the official death toll from Hurricane Maria, saying it had been inflated as part of a plot to make him look bad. Picture: Reuters/ Carlos Barria

Washington - US President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected the official death toll from last year's Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, saying it had been inflated to almost 3 000 as part of a plot to make him look bad.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," Trump tweeted early Thursday. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths."

"Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000..." he said, going on to claim: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible." 

Hurricane Maria killed 2 975 people in Puerto Rico, a long-awaited independent investigation into the 2017 storm concluded last month. It was initially said to have killed just 64 people.

After nearly a year of controversy over the toll, the governor of Puerto Rico said the new estimate would now be considered the official death toll.

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