Trump: Puerto Rico’s ‘inept politicians’ using hurricane relief to pay off debts

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President Trump blasted the Puerto Rican government on Tuesday, claiming that its politicians were using hurricane relief funds to pay off the U.S. territory’s debts. 

“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. The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. 

Trump’s tweet comes more than a month after he attacked San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz over relief efforts, while doubling down on his defense of the federal response to Hurricane Maria. 

{mosads}“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help,” Trump tweeted after the hurricane hit, referencing Cruz, who criticized the president’s response to the storm.

Trump also lashed out last month over the results of a study that suggested the death toll from the hurricane was significantly higher than previously reported, claiming without evidence that the Democrats were trying to make him look bad.

“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000,” he tweeted

“This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!” Trump added.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló later adopted the study’s findings as the official death toll.

Nearly 3,000 people died after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017. The island suffered significant structural damage, particularly to its power grid. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote last month that more than $4.6 billion had been provided to Puerto Rico for “public assistance projects.”

A debt investigation report issued in August by the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico found that the territory had $74 billion in bond debt and $49 billion in unfunded pension liabilities as of May 2017. 

Trump, last month, said one of his administration’s “best jobs” was the response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico last year. 

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