FEMA allocates $13 billion to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and spur recovery of the territory’s education system.
The campaign team for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said President Donald Trump’s billion-dollar aid to Puerto Rico is a “desperate, political stunt” to gain Latino voters in Florida.
“No amount of money can hide Donald Trump’s disregard for, and mistreatment of Puerto Rico following Hurricane María,” Biden for President Latino Advisor Tatiana Matta said in a statement.
“Our communities upended, the thousands of lives lost, the lack of power and essential needs, the trauma that ensued following this disaster—the damage caused by Hurricane María,” she said. “The sheer notion that the President thinks any amount of cash can paper over his disgusting treatment of Puerto Ricans is utterly disrespectful and offensive. The delayed response is inexcusable and cannot be undone.”
Trump discussed the approval of the $13 billion to Puerto Rico during a White House press conference today. When asked why it took him three years to approve relief for a natural disaster that happened in 2017, he blamed the Democrats and said he didn’t have the power to pass legislation.
He later said, “We are building [the island] up as a great pharmaceutical manufacturing area, we are going to bring it back. They did a great job but then destroyed it with their tax policy.”
Biden’s team said Trump’s urgency to give Puerto Rico money so close to the election is simply to win over Puerto Rican voters.
“This is clearly a desperate, political stunt to win over Puerto Rican supporters,” Matta said. “For the thousands of families who had to leave the island, for all those we’ve lost, for those who still struggle everyday to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, it is three years too little and too late. The people of Puerto Rico know what happened, and we won’t forget his treatment of us as second-class citizens. This November we will hold him accountable by voting him out and electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who have a real plan for Puerto Ricans grounded in a fact Donald Trump cannot seem to understand: we are American citizens.”
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) echoed that sentiment. The lawmaker who was born in Puerto Rico said in an interview with Yahoo! News, “It’s obvious why this is happening now.”
She added, “Forty-six days before Election Day— he’s playing politics with this assistance.”