Trump Regime

Report: The White House is Extorting Puerto Rico for Reconstruction Money

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We know the Trump regime has treated Puerto Rico like an unwanted step-child following Hurricane Maria, but Politico has taken a look at exactly how Trump's response to Maria and Hurricane Harvey in Houston differed.

When you compare the numbers side by side, they're quite staggering.

Nine days after the respective hurricanes, FEMA had approved $141.8 million in individual assistance to Harvey victims, versus just $6.2 million for Maria victims.

During the first nine days after Harvey, FEMA provided 5.1 million meals, 4.5 million liters of water and over 20,000 tarps to Houston; but in the same period, it delivered just 1.6 million meals, 2.8 million liters of water and roughly 5,000 tarps to Puerto Rico.

Nine days after Harvey, the federal government had 30,000 personnel in the Houston region, compared with 10,000 at the same point after Maria.

It took just 10 days for FEMA to approve permanent disaster work for Texas, compared with 43 days for Puerto Rico.

Seventy-eight days after each hurricane, FEMA had approved 39 percent of federal applications for relief from victims of Harvey, versus 28 percent for Maria.

I think it would be fair to say that Houston's mainland location played it its favor, but that doesn't explain Trump's personal behavior in which he repeatedly attacked and shamed Puerto Ricans suffering after the storm.

It also wouldn't explain why Puerto Rico has been provided relief in the form of loans and it wouldn't explain this:

The federal government has already begun funding projects to help make permanent repairs to Texas infrastructure. But in Puerto Rico, that funding has yet to start, as local officials continue to negotiate the details of an experimental funding system that the island agreed to adopt after a long, contentious discussion with Trump’s Office of Management and Budget.

Multiple congressional staffers and people with direct knowledge of the arrangement said White House officials told Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, that if he didn’t agree to the experimental formula, the island wouldn’t get the money, effectively forcing the island to take a huge gamble since it would be responsible for any cost overruns, a requirement that doesn’t exist for Texas. The White House denies making that demand.

This is extortion of American citizens and you can bet your money that when the financial house of cards collapses, Republicans will blame the people of Puerto Rico for it.

Puerto Rico was already buried under a mountain of debt before the storm and now the island is being asked to participate in some kind of financial experiment overseen by Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney.

I wouldn't trust Mulvaney to pump gas.

This long-term disaster could be worse than the storm and it will be part of Trump's legacy.

  • Draxiar

    Since no lawyers will touch trump with a 10 meter cattleprod maybe Puerto Rico can send him some paper towels to help him clean up his mess.

  • muselet

    Texas is obviously Murcan and (currently) red. Puerto Rico is, in the fever dreams of this administration, a hellhole of poor brown noncitizens.

    If the administration pulled this crap on Texas, the entire Texas congressional delegation—and most non-Texas Rs—would loudly object as one. But Puerto Rico has no (voting) congressional representation, so the Rs feel it’s safe to ignore the suffering there.

    Donald Trump’s public comments after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the island were disgusting, and using Puerto Rico as a guinea pig for Mick Mulvaney’s free-market experiment malarkey masquerading as aid is simply unconscionable.

    The difference in responses to similar natural disasters is part cold-eyed electoral calculation and part racism.

    –alopecia

  • Username1016

    Ack! I don’t like the new logo. Bring back the flag one!!!

    • It’s so tiny on my phone I can’t see it to judge.

  • ninjaf

    The first time I have read “White” House as a racial thing in my mind. “White House trying to stick it to brown people” was the first thing that went through my mind. How sad that we have sunk this low as a nation.

  • Username1016

    May they migrate en masse to Florida and vote for Democrats. (And then win serious relief for their island’s situation, and move back if they want to! I’m not wishing exile on anybody.)

    I’m thinking statehood is in order.

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