Trump uses new storm threatening Puerto Rico to lie about past aid to the island


There's a tropical storm taking aim at Puerto Rico, and Trump is using it as an opportunity to tweet and complain.

There's a massive tropical storm bearing down on Puerto Rico right now. Tropical Storm Dorian will be at near-hurricane strength when it hits the island, which is still battered after the effects of Hurricane Maria.

Most leaders would display concern over this, given that the risk of flooding and damage is quite high in large part because post-Maria cleanup has been inadequate. Trump is instead tweeting out lies about his administration's past aid to the island.

Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, "Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end? Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for 'anywhere.'"

First, there's Trump's odd way of framing this that seems to suggest Puerto Rico is somehow at fault for being repeatedly hit by storms, which is just a thing that happens to islands in the tropics. Asking "Will it ever end?" implies there is some way to stop hurricanes and Puerto Rico is being irresponsible in not doing so.

More important, though, is the fact that the tweet is a vehicle for Trump's repeated lies about how much aid has been given to Puerto Rico post-Maria. The $92 billion figure is pure fantasy, unrelated to any actual assistance to the island. Congress allocated approximately $43 billion — less than half of Trump's imaginary amount. Of that allocation, as of May 2019, Puerto Rico had only received $14 billion.

But Trump has always been furious that Puerto Rico needs any aid at all. Perhaps that's because he is so racist he doesn't understand that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. At the same time, he's declared he is "the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico." He's dragged his feet on emergency funding. In short, he's done everything to stop the island from getting the aid it needs.

And make no mistake: The island is in no shape to get hit again. Besides still suffering the natural hardships that stemmed from Hurricane Maria, the island has to deal with an administration which is "completely ill-prepared" for the next hurricane.

Puerto Rico has estimated that fully recovering from Maria will cost $139 billion. Even if the United States were to provide the $92 billion imagined by Trump, that wouldn't be enough. But the island will continue to struggle because Trump doesn't believe they deserve to rebuild.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.