Local lawmakers respond to Trump's tweet denying Hurricane Maria death toll

While Hurricane Florence slams into the southeast coastline, remarks the President has made about his response to Hurricane Maria have incited criticism from across the country.

The President’s remarks are being considered both destructive and abusive.

“Tweets like that can only really be taken as they’re not seeing us, we're invisible, they’re making us disappear,” said Rep. Carlos Mariani, of Minnesota.

Mariani speaks both as a legislator and a Puerto Rican Minnesotan.

President Trump tweeted a denial of the death toll Gov. Ricardo Rosello made official last month, claiming instead 3,000 people did not die as a result of Hurricane Maria.

“The message, I think, for me, and I think for many other Puerto Ricans here on the island is that we don’t matter and that our lives are somehow less worthy,” Mariani said.

The President's Thursday morning tweets also dismissed the toll as a move made by Democrats to make him look bad.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he has no reason to dispute the numbers, saying, “I was in Puerto Rico after the hurricane it was devastated. This was a horrible storm."

“It's an isolated island that lost its infrastructure and its power for a long time,” Ryan added.

“We shouldn’t be politicizing natural disasters that’s not the role of anyone in government,” said Sen. Melisa Franzen.

Franzen returned to Minnesota from a somber trip to the island Wednesday.

“I just got back from there spending a week to say goodbye to my grandmother who survived Hurricane Maria because we were there to help her personally. Her grandmother, Delia Cruz, was 93.

“Every family has been affected in one way shape or form and their still recovering,” Franzen said.

Senator Franzen would know. This was the fifth visit she's made to Puerto Rico since Maria's devastation.

“To say we did the best we can and we have to disregard for the deaths is insensitive and just so un-American,” Franzen said.

Fox 9 reached out to members of the Minnesota GOP, but they did not return our request for comment. 

Meanwhile, Gov. Rosello maintains he is confident in his most recent toll of 3,975 as a result of Hurricane Maria. 

He clarified that it's an estimate at this juncture, but he does stand by the number.