Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lied about Puerto Rico and what he's done for it.

The United States territory of Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in August 2017. Basic services like electricity and running water were knocked out for months. The result was that almost 3,000 Americans were killed in the storm and its aftermath. (Trump, to this day, still denies that the vast majority of those deaths even happened.)

Today, Trump retweeted himself on the subject, claiming that

Puerto Rico has been given more money by Congress for Hurricane Disaster Relief, 91 Billion Dollars, than any State in the history of the U.S. As an example, Florida got $12 Billion & Texas $39 Billion for their monster hurricanes. 

This is a lie.

The American citizens living in Puerto Rico were not "given" anything; money was appropriated by Congress in bills signed by Trump. But the $91 billion figure is pure fiction. In reality, only $11.2 billion has been spent, much less than the amounts allocated for Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Future allocations are subject to future appropriations bills—and to Trump's veto, which he's threatened to punish Puerto Ricans critical of his administration's response.

Trump also said that Puerto Ricans "should be very happy" with his disaster relief efforts. He probably does believe this, but in the real world, it's not clear why he thinks Puerto Ricans would.

So what?

  • It's wrong to lie.
  • American citizens are entitled to basic competence from their government regardless of where they live.