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President Trump posts incorrect statements regarding Puerto Rico

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Thu, Apr 11th 2019 04:00 pm
Recovery President Donald Trump recently took to Twitter to voice his opinion regarding the small island of Puerto Rico. He claimed the territory suffers from bad leadership and that it does not handle funds correctly. The president's thoughts came almost two years after the deadly Hurricane Maria hit the island (above).
Recovery President Donald Trump recently took to Twitter to voice his opinion regarding the small island of Puerto Rico. He claimed the territory suffers from bad leadership and that it does not handle funds correctly. The president's thoughts came almost two years after the deadly Hurricane Maria hit the island (above).

United States President Donald Trump recently tweeted misinformation about the aid provided to Puerto Rico in after the devastating Hurricane Maria that occurred in 2017. 

According to CNN, over 18 months ago a Category 4 hurricane with winds reaching up to 155 mph hit Puerto Rico after tearing its way through several other Caribbean islands. This storm was responsible for uprooting trees, destroying homes and shutting electricity to the entire island.

In an immediate response to the tragedy, spokesman for Puerto Rico’s governor Carlos Mercader spoke on the crisis the island was facing. 

“This is total devastation,” Mercader said. “Puerto Rico, in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same.… This is something of historic proportions.”

Indeed, Puerto Rico has not been the same. Racking up a death toll of over 3,000 and causing over $42 billion in debt. Early estimations believe Maria was one of the deadliest hurricanes in American history. It was second only to the The Great Galveston Storm of 1990, according to USA Today. 

A report published in early December 2018 by USA Today said the Puerto Rico planning board estimated the economic impact to equal about $43 billion. However, Puerto Rican economic consulting firm H. Calero assessed that amount to be closer to $139 billion, or even up to $159 billion. 

Now, nearly two years later, Puerto Rico is still dealing with the catastrophic mess. Trump was initially criticized for his slow response to the disaster, and has since been open about his unwillingness to send any more money to aid the much needed United States territory. 

Most recently, Trump has gone as far as to tweet about how much money has been sent to Puerto Rico and accusing the leadership of not being competent.

“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. The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA....” Trump tweeted on the morning of Tuesday, April 2. 

Many people have pushed back against these claims, saying Puerto Rico has not received even close to that amount of money. According to Washington Post, “the $91 billion figure that Trump likes to use is a combination of $41 billion that’s been set aside for recovery combined with $50 billion expected to be spent over the life of the recovery effort in accordance with legislation passed in 1988.”

Another flaw many have noticed is that Trump continually says Puerto Rican officials just want to take money from the U.S. However, Puerto Rico is a part of the U.S. 

The first tweet was followed almost immediately by Trump showing his inflated ego. 

“...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. Cannot continue to hurt our Farmers and States with these massive payments, and so little appreciation!”

When considering the utter desolation Puerto Rico faced combined with the fact that some parts of the country were without power for close to a year after the storm, it is incredible to also think that almost 1.4 million residents on the island are facing cuts to their food assistance programs. 

As reported by Buzzfeed News, federal disaster relief funds dried up in February, and by March the 1.35 million people using the Nutritional Assistance for Puerto Rico (NAP) program for basic food supplies saw their funds significantly cut back. 

The important thing to remember through all of this is that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. The people inhabiting the island are U.S. citizens. The lack of assistance and treatment they have been facing is not something that reflects what the U.S. prides itself on being.

While President Trump may think he is the best thing to happen to the island, it seems the island have not been offered nearly enough to recover from the devastation of Maria. It’s going to take more than thoughts and prayers for Puerto Rico to help rebuild it’s island.