Trump is cruelly withholding disaster aid from Puerto Rico


Despite a bipartisan consensus in Congress to get Puerto Rico back on its feet, Trump is once again standing in the way.

Donald Trump appears unconcerned about the fate of Puerto Rico to a truly shocking degree.

As the island has struggled to rebuild, Trump refused to let foreign vessels unload relief supplies at port, and withdrew a naval hospital ship treating the sick and injured without giving a reason. He personally attacked the mayor of San Juan as she waded through sewage to help her residents to safety, and when he actually bothered to visit, he literally made a game out of throwing paper towels at families who had lost their homes.

And in yet another egregious twist, despite the fact that Congress passed a sweeping, bipartisan disaster aid bill to help the island rebuild, Trump has done absolutely nothing to actually get the allotted funds to the people who need it.

On a press call on Wednesday afternoon, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy — who this week traveled to Puerto Rico to check on relief efforts and speak with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló — revealed the shocking fact that Trump has not even touched the federal funds that Congress set aside for the island's recovery:

It’s important to note that the White House has not released the money that Congress appropriated last year. That was a major issue that came up with our discussions with the governor. We appropriated money, mainly through CDBG funding, and the White House has held that money back. It has not landed on the ground in Puerto Rico, which makes us very reluctant to hand over the keys to the White House with the disaster package passed by the House that doesn’t mandate that a single dime land in Puerto Rico. That bill authorized $90 million to be divided up as the White House desired among the existing disaster declarations.

Given how cavalier this White House has been about the disaster and the recovery in Puerto Rico, we simply don’t believe that it’s responsible for Congress to pass a disaster relief package that doesn’t guarantee money will end up aiding Puerto Rico.

This sort of inaction from Trump’s administration is absolutely inexcusable. Over a thousand people have died, and nearly 50 percent of Puerto Rico still does not have power, as Murphy vividly demonstrated in a tweet on Tuesday night:

Trump seems to think the idea of American citizens living without water or power for months is just a big joke. But nobody is laughing.