Trump Reportedly Wants to Cut Off Disaster Relief Funds to Puerto Rico

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C. to attend WWI Centenary in Paris, France on Nov. 9, 2018. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

November 11, 2018

By Kate Feldman

President Donald Trump reportedly plans to stop financial aid to millions of Americans in Puerto Rico still dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.

The president believes, without evidence, that the Puerto Rican government is using the disaster relief funds to pay off debt rather than help its citizens rebuild, according to Axios.

The island nation is still rebuilding after Maria’s destruction more than a year ago; most of the country waited almost 11 months for power to be restored and thousands of people are still displaced after their homes were destroyed.

Trump was initially reluctant to send money to Puerto Rico and has continually complained about having to do so since.

“The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations,” he tweeted in late October. “The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!”

He’s also gone after San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz specifically, questioning her leadership.

Trump has routinely refused to believe the official death toll, which the Puerto Rican government place at 2,975 people. The president claims that Democrats are trying to “make me look as bad as possible.”

His recent outburst stems from an October article in The Wall Street Journal, according to Axios, that Trump mistakenly assumed said that the Puerto Rican government was misusing the relief funds.

Instead, the newspaper reported that the federal oversight board simply raised the possibility of hedge funds restructuring the country’s debt and help it out of bankruptcy court.

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