President Donald Trump again falsely inflated the amount of federal disaster Puerto Rico has received since Hurricane Maria struck in 2017, saying the island “should be very happy” about the federal response.
In two tweets Monday, Trump wrote, “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.”
According to PolitiFact, the federal government’s recovery website stated in April that $40.7 billion had been allocated to Puerto Rico through December 2018. Out of that total, the government has promised to spend $19.4 billion and $11.2 billion had been spent from various agencies.
PolitiFact reported that Trump came up with the $91 billion figure by including additional estimated FEMA costs of $50 billion, which is speculative “a high-end estimate of what would need to be committed” over the course of many years. None of that money has yet been allocated.
The Trump tweets come as Republicans and Democrats face off over a disaster aid bill, with both sides pointing the finger at the other. Democrats want more money for Puerto Rico, including funds for water projects and the electrical grid, while Trump and Republicans blame Democrats for holding up aid to other areas in order to do so.
Trump opposes any additional money for Puerto Rico outside of food-stamp funding.
He claimed Monday that Florida got $12 billion and 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!” Trump said.
The tweets echo similar messages from April 2, also claiming Puerto Rico received $91 billion, and “all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money.”
Trump wrote that island politicians “only take from USA,” and “want to give them more, taking dollars away from our Farmers,” despite Puerto Rico being a U.S. territory and Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens.
The president was also heavily criticized for refusing to acknowledge the official death count of 2,975 and falsely claiming Democrats of “inflating” the count for political reasons.
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