President Donald Trump is attacking Puerto Rico once again, but his tweets are resulting in dangerous, tangible ways. The president and Democratic lawmakers are at over billions in disaster relief funds. Puerto Rican officials and Democrats say the island needs $14 billion in federal disaster money, but Trump only wants to give $600 million. The president continues to spread lies about the money that the government has given Puerto Rico, by saying once again that they have received $91 billion, which is not true at all.
The president tweeted, “Puerto Rico has been given more money by Congress for Hurricane Disaster Relief, 91 Billion Dollars, than any State in the history of the U.S. As an example, Florida got $12 Billion & Texas $39 Billion for their monster hurricanes. Now the Democrats are saying NO Relief to Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and others unless much more money is given to Puerto Rico. The Dems don’t want farmers to get any help. Puerto Rico should be very happy, and the Dems should stop blocking much-needed Disaster Relief!”
As Politifact notes, “The federal government’s recovery website shows, $40.7 billion has been allocated (Congress appropriated the spending) through December 2018. Of that, $19.4 billion has been obligated (the government has promised to spend the money) and of that $11.2 billion has been spent. The money comes from various agencies and funds including FEMA, U.S. Housing and Urban Development, the Community Development Fund and the Disaster Relief Fund.”
It is that FEMA money that Puerto Rico needs, primarily to begin rebuilding much-needed facilities such as hospitals that got destroyed during the hurricane. The Washington Post reports that FEMA sometimes takes months or years to decide whether or not to rebuild a particular building. But for Puerto Ricans, those decisions are a matter of life and death.
“They are walking away from their responsibility to build a new hospital,” Democratic Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez from New York says and admits she has discussed the hospital with FEMA, according to The Post. “It’s a disaster.”
The matter isn’t just affecting Puerto Ricans on the island, but Puerto Ricans on the mainland as well. Alex Cora, manager of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, will not be attending a White House visit because he is protesting Trump’s response to Puerto Rico.
Cora, wrote the following letter in the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día: “Puerto Rico is very important to me. During the winter I spent a lot of time back home, visiting my family and friends. Unfortunately, we are still struggling, still fighting. Some people still lack basic necessities, others remain without electricity and many homes and schools are in pretty bad shape almost a year and a half after Hurricane María struck… Even though the United States Government has helped, there’s still a long road ahead, and that is OUR reality. I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten and my absence (from the White House) is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House.”
We shall see if Trump will eventually help Puerto Rico, or cause even more damage.