Report: In 2019, Trump Personally Intervened To Cut Aid To Puerto Rico
President Trump repeatedly railed against funding for Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, going so far as to personally intervene during a 2019 meeting with Republican lawmakers, insisting Puerto Rico had received far too much money.
- Florida Senator Marco Rubio said Trump told the group that aid for the island “is way out of proportion to what Texas and Florida and others have gotten.”
- The president drew criticism over his statements regarding Puerto Rico, from claiming his administration’s handling of the disaster was an “incredible, unsung success” to slow-walking aide to criticizing the island’s leadership and economic difficulties.
- Trump regularly pointed to Puerto Rico’s history of corruption as reason to deny the island further financial assistance. But he appears to have had a change of heart — even though there’s little evidence the corruption has abated.
- The Washington Post reports that just ahead of the November election, Trump suddenly is interested in helping Puerto Rico, which not-so-coincidentally could also help his reelection chances.
The administration just announced it has released $13 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Puerto Rico’s education and electrical systems — what the administration labeled “two of its largest grants ever for infrastructure projects in Puerto Rico.”
- Polls suggest that Joe Biden is not faring as well as past Democratic candidates with Hispanic voters, and Puerto Rican voters play a large role in the swing state of Florida.
- “A post-Maria influx of Puerto Ricans pushed their population in the Sunshine State to over 1.2 million, or about 5 percent of the state’s entire population,” The Post noted.
- The Post also noted that Trump’s unwillingness to continue federal support had real consequences: “A study in the past year in the journal BMJ Global Health found that it got far less than it needed, relative to U.S. states facing similar problems.”
- The report said the Trump administration “responded on a larger scale and much more quickly across measures of federal money and staffing to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, compared with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.”
Trump clearly is now trying to woo Puerto Rican voters after two years of consistent disparaging by tossing out massive grants instead of paper towels, all in hopes of gaining an edge on Biden.