The island commonwealth of Puerto Rico is home to 3.2 million people, and was devastated by hurricanes in 2017 – thanks in large part to the lack of action by the Trump administration. They are still in desperate need of help.
But Trump has privately told aides he wants to "claw back" – rescind – federal funds already granted to the island.
The President is now gaslighting the American people, repeatedly pushing a lie (see below) that "Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane."
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....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2019
That was just one of five tweets Trump posted between 10:50 PM Monday and 7:45 AM Tuesday. And it's false (more on that below) not to mention, racist.
"Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined," he also claimed, again falsely.
"91 Billion Dollars to Puerto Rico, and now the Dems want to give them more, taking dollars away from our Farmers and so many others. Disgraceful!" Trump cried on Twitter, in yet another false twist. The only one who's taking money away from farmers is Trump, thanks to his ill-conceived trade war.
At 11:11 PM Monday President Trump attacked Puerto Rico, calling its elected officials "incompetent or corrupt." At 11:38 PM he labeled Carmen Yulín Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan, "crazed and incompetent."
At 7:33 in the morning, in typically racist form, Trump cried that all that Puerto Rico's "local politicians do is complain & ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA."
It's that "& only take from USA" that really makes it racist.
Someone should remind the President that Puerto Rico is part of the USA. Imagine the outrage if Trump singled out Mississippi – one of the states most dependent on federal government funds – and tweeted, "all that Mississippi's local politicians do is complain & ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA."
At 7:45 AM Tuesday morning, Trump actually tweeted: "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!"
He's all but asking for the people of Puerto Rico, the same people he threw paper towels at, to kneel before and praise him.
So let's examine Trump's false claim that "Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane."
"The $91 billion question: Trump rages against a phantom dollar figure of aid to Puerto Rico." (NY Daily News)
"Study: Puerto Rico received slower, less "generous" federal disaster aid than Texas, Florida." (CBS News)
If you really want to get at where Trump is getting that fake $91 billion figure, let's first make clear he's gaslighting. Reading his tweets and prior statements you'd think the Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin landed a planeload with $91 billion in cold hard cash in San Juan.
The Washington Post's Fact Checker reveals only $11.2 billion has been spent on Puerto Rico. Not $91 billion.
On March 28 Trump told reporters, "We have $91 billion going to Puerto Rico. We have $29 billion to Texas and $12 billion to Florida for the hurricanes."
The $91 billion is probably the sum total of what the federal government over the course of several decades might spend on Puerto Rico. And it appears he may be confusing what it would actually cost to fix Puerto Rico with what the federal government ultimately will spend.
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