Donald Trump bemoaned on Tuesday that another storm was headed to Puerto Rico after the island was decimated by Hurricane Maria during the first year of his presidency, asking ‘will it never end?’
The president then repeated the false claim that the U.S. territory, which sustained an estimated $90 billion in damage from the October 2017 storm, received $92 billion in federal disaster funds.
‘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,”‘ he tweeted.
President Trump bemoaned another storm headed toward Puerto Rico as Tropical Storm Dorian makes its way through the Caribbean
Puerto Rico has been a burr in Trump’s side since it was devastated by Hurricane Maria almost two years ago as officials there demand more federal relief and the president has inflated the amount of money it has actually received.
Trump wrote his tweet as officials at the National Hurricane Center are watching Tropical Storm Dorian in the Caribbean, which could intensify to near hurricane strength this week.
Two-thirds of Puerto Rico is likely to receive tropical-force winds on Tuesday as the storm approaches the island.
Dorian had winds of 50 miles per hour and was churning around 400 miles southeast of Puerto Rico as of early Tuesday. Once a storm hits winds of 74 miles per hour it is classified as a hurricane.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Puerto Rico and for the nearby island of Dominican Republic as Dorian makes its way through the Caribbean.
It’s unclear, however, where the president has gotten the $92 billion number he has repeatedly touted as the amount of aid Puerto Rico has received.
Congress has allocated $42.5 billion in disaster relief for the island, but the U.S. territory had received less than $14 billion through May, according to an NBC News fact check.
Most of the money is waiting because of processes that require officials to submit a plan outlining how they expect to use the money and get federal approval for it.
Trump uses the $92 billion number extensively to argue he has done enough for the island, which saw its power grid effectively destroyed in the storm along with damages to homes, business and other infrastructure.
The president’s tweet Tuesday also comes after he denied a report he wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons to disperse them before they made landfall.
Trump visited Puerto Rico in October 2017 to see the damage from Hurricane Maria and tossed paper towels to a crowd
First lady Melania Trump joined the president in that October 2017 visit
Axios reported Trump asked senior Homeland Security and national security officials if they could explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes in their path.
‘The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous. I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!,’ Trump tweeted Monday from the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria – hit the United States and its territories during Trump’s first year in office and caused more than $2 billion in damage.
And the president is still dealing with the political fallout from the last hurricane to hit Puerto Rico – Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump traveled to the island that October to assess the damages but the visit did nothing to qualm the quarrel, which is on-going.
During his visit, Trump told officials they should be proud that only 16 people were known to have died in the storm and he threw rolls of paper towels into a crowd at a church in San Juan, resulting in photos that went viral.
Overall, 3,057 people died on the island due to the storm.
Tropical Storm Dorian is making its way toward Puerto Rico and could reach hurricane strength
The photos of Trump throwing paper towels during his October 2017 visit went viral
Since Maria hit the island, Trump and local officials have engaged in verbal and twitter fisticuffs over whether or not Puerto Rico has received enough aid.
In June, during an Oval Office meeting with the Pakistani prime minister, Trump went after Governor Ricardo Rosselló and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, calling him ‘terrible’ and her ‘horrible.’
He then claimed the people of Puerto Rico loved him as almost 100 per cent of them watched the beauty pageants he owned.
‘Look, he’s a terrible governor. I think you have an even worse mayor of San Juan, she’s horrible. I think she’s horrible,’ he told reporters.
‘She’s incompetent, grossly incompetent. At the same time the governor is not good,’ he added.
Rosselló later resigned over offensive and homophobic chat messages that were revealed to the public, causing mass protests throughout the island.
Trump and Melania Trump walked through San Juan to see the damage from Maria
The president and first lady spent a day visiting the island to see the damage from Maria
Trump, meanwhile, said he was the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.
‘I owned the Miss Universe contest, the pageants, and we had them in Puerto Rico twice. I tell you, we had tremendous successes. In fact they said literally 100 per cent, this never happens, I think it was close to 100, but 100 per cent of the island itself was watching,’ he said.
‘They like those pageants. Now, I’ve had a great relationship with Puerto Rico. I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico,’ he added.
And he tweeted of Cruz in April: ‘The crazed and incompetent Mayor of San Juan have done such a poor job of bringing the Island back to health.’
Cruz fired back via a tweet of her own: ‘Pres Trump continues to embarrass himself & the Office he holds. He is unhinged & thus lies about the $ received by PR.’