Hurricane Dorian may have spared Puerto Rico, but the island was not spared President Trump’s continued rancor and negative rhetoric as the storm approached this week. In response Puerto Rico’s top newspaper has lambasted Trump for making false claims about the amount of money allocated to help Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. El Nuevo Día posted its front page story, “Mr. President: Your Numbers Are Fake”, in both Spanish and English.
President Trump, disliking the criticism he and his administration have faced for a lackluster response to Puerto Rico’s recovery needs following Hurricane Maria, has lashed out in multiple ways. Trump has attempted to underplay the death toll in Puerto Rico from Maria, which stands at 2,975, according to CNN. Trump has also made broad claims of corruption among Puerto Rican politicians and feuded publicly with politicians on the island who are critical of him, most particularly San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. Trump’s claim that the U.S. has allocated $92 billion toward recovery from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is what El Nuevo Día particularly targeted as untrue; also a large portion of the money that actually has been allocated has yet to be disbursed, according to the newspaper. The article indicated that $49.4 billion, a far cry from $92 billion, has been allocated, and that less than half of the allocated amount has actually been disbursed, just $20.5 billion. According to The Hill:
Puerto Rico’s top newspaper hammered President Trump on Friday over his claim that the U.S. had previously allocated $92 billion to the territory for hurricane recovery. “Mr. President: Your Numbers Are Fake,” El Nuevo Día, which usually publishes its articles and newspapers in Spanish but posted an English version on Friday, said in its front page headline. …Congress approved $42 billion in aid for the territory after it was struck by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The Trump administration faced sharp criticism for its handling of the storms, and the island territory’s recovery is ongoing. Trump has an infamously acrimonious relationship with top officials in Puerto Rico, tweeting this week that emergency funds are syphoned off to “corrupt” politicians.
El Nuevo Dia also posted their front page on Twitter, both in Spanish and in English, contesting Trump’s figures as wildly inaccurate, but acknowledging that Puerto Rico does have issues with political corruption, adding, according to The Hill, “Although some politicians in Puerto Rico have indeed mismanaged funds and have let their constituents down, Mr. Trump’s claims about the amount of money that has actually been assigned to the island are incorrect.” This is the post in question:
Thankfully, Puerto Rico was spared the worst of Hurricane Dorian, which from here is now predicted to take a path skirting the Atlantic coast along Florida and the Carolinas after delivering a devastating blow to the Bahamas; predictions are being updated with new information every few hours. Puerto Rico was not spared a slew of ugly invective from Trump in the lead up to the storm, however, and we should bear in mind that when Trump was making those comments this week, the predictions were that Puerto Rico would likely take a direct hit, making his public comments all the more inappropriate. Trump continues to respond inappropriately when he feels slighted or criticized, lashing out at a time when people need cohesion, solid planning, preparedness, and empathy instead. Trump canceled his plans to travel to Poland this weekend in order to monitor Hurricane Dorian’s progress, but, according to CBS News, has nonetheless found time today to be golfing at his Virginia golf resort, Trump National Golf Club.