President Trump has defended his administration’s response to the hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico, blasting local officials of wasting “billions of dollars” in disaster relief money.
“Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before, & all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The president went on to say that, “Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right, the place is a mess – nothing works.”
Trump also fired back at Puerto Rican officials such as San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz who continues to blame the president for the slow recovery taking place on the island.
“FEMA & the Military worked emergency miracles, but politicians like the crazed and incompetent Mayor of San Juan have done such a poor job of bringing the Island back to health,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “The people of Puerto Rico are GREAT, but the politicians are incompetent or corrupt.”
Funds to Puerto Rico Blocked By Democrats
The president also accused Democrats of diverting funds to Puerto Rico at the expense of much needed emergency aid to Midwest farmers.
“The best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico is President Donald J. Trump. So many wonderful people, but with such bad Island leadership and with so much money wasted,” he wrote. “Cannot continue to hurt our Farmers and States with these massive payments, and so little appreciation!”
Despite Trump’s claims of corruption and squandered emergency funds, he also pinned it squarely on the Democrats for preventing Puerto Rico from receiving more aide.
“The Democrats today killed a Bill that would have provided great relief to Farmers and yet more money to Puerto Rico despite the fact that Puerto Rico has already been scheduled to receive more hurricane relief funding than any “place” in history,” Trump tweeted.
He was referring to a Republican Bill that would have provided $13 billion in aid, including money for victims of the flooding in the Midwest and $600 million for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program. But, the Democrats voted against that bill.
Ever since Hurricane Maria hit, the president has been criticized by congressional lawmakers and Democrats on the island for not doing more to help it recover from the disaster, despite his administration pouring historic levels of resources into the effort.
In addition to the above tweets, the White House put out a document to push back against such claims. The document, entitled Rebuilding Puerto Rico Efficiently and Accountability, made the following key points:
• The Federal Emergency Management Agency had the “longest” air mission delivering food and water, the “largest” disaster distribution ever and the “largest sea-bridge” operation bringing aid to Puerto Rico.
• Trump authorized 100 percent of the island’s work “cost-share” for nearly a year, the third longest ever granted by a president.
• Over $19 billion has been obligated across 14 agencies, and $8 billion remains unspent.
• With federal help, water and electric systems have returned, and unemployment has dropped three points.
• The administration also made a point of claiming it is spending while trying to keep federal tax dollars from being squandered.