President Donald Trump on Friday will announce a multi-billion dollar federal aid package for Puerto Rico, with most of the funds to be used to rebuild the U.S. territory’s power grid, devastated by hurricanes that attack the island every year.
The desperately needed assistance comes after Trump has spent his entire tenure in office attacking Puerto Rico, its leaders, and complaining repeatedly about congressionally-approved funds for the overlooked island. Recently it was revealed he wanted to sell Puerto Rico, after the 2017 Hurricane Maria that took the lives of 3059 people, and did nearly $92 billion in damage.
CBS News’ David Begnaud broke the story:
Scoop: Tomorrow, the White House will announce several major disaster aid packages for Puerto Rico, amounting to the largest allotment of disaster aid in U.S. history. Most of the money will be used to rebuild the power grid that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, 3yrs ago today.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 18, 2020
Trump has fought giving assistance to Puerto Rico, and called it “one of the most corrupt places on earth.”
Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
He denied the death toll from Hurricane Maria, which in large part came from his mismanagement of the crisis. Some have said his performance then was a precursor of his disastrous performance with the coronavirus pandemic.
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
Others note the announcement comes just weeks before the presidential election, and see it as an attempt to win Florida. Many Puerto Ricans moved to Florida after Hurricane Maria. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but do not have the right to vote. Those who moved to Florida do, after changing their residence.
They likely will not forget his visit in October of 2017, when he threw rolls of paper towels to Puerto Ricans in need at a disaster relief distribution center near San Juan.
The amount of federal funds appears to be in flux, with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer saying the White House agreed to nearly $10 billion, and the Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez Garced, saying $13 billion. There are multiple aid packages which could account for the different amounts.
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