Donald Trump's actions and rhetoric regarding Puerto Rico have been fraught with missteps: throwing a roll of paper towels as a gesture of "hurricane aid," calling Puerto Ricans lazy, and more.
Last night, in a tweet about the Senate's clash over disaster aid, he referred to Puerto Rico as a "place" - quotation marks and all - and people aren't sure how to take it.
The Democrats today killed a Bill that would have provided great relief to Farmers and yet more money to Puerto Ric… https://t.co/SX45v3igaS— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1554173420.0
The "place" Trump is referring to is is an unincorporated United States territory - meaning that it is a part of the United States.
Trump's series of tweets on Monday say, in part, that Puerto Rico is "taking dollars away from our Farmers" - despite the fact that relief funds for Puerto Rico would not affect funding for Midwestern disaster aid.
@realDonaldTrump 1) $91 billion is the toll of the damages Puerto Rico sustained from hurricane Maria, not how much… https://t.co/lZjUT8gK0G— Robert Maguire (@Robert Maguire)1554206410.0
Trump is lying about Puerto Rico, which hasn’t gotten anywhere near $91 billion. Trump cruelly ignored and even he… https://t.co/D3hJuapDgD— Rep. Don Beyer (@Rep. Don Beyer)1554206697.0
Trump: all Puerto Rico does is take money from the US. Reality: Puerto Rico is the US. https://t.co/xPjGkhthel— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene)1554210767.0
More than 3,000 people have died in Puerto Rico, which has more than 3 million US citizens. Trump wants to give the… https://t.co/kl7vDtXQxn— Wajahat "Abu Khadija" Ali (@Wajahat "Abu Khadija" Ali)1554182774.0
@realDonaldTrump hey, remember when our president called the people of Puerto Rico lazy and let them drown in the d… https://t.co/xrioVxEeAy— Jeff Tiedrich (@Jeff Tiedrich)1554173659.0
The aid money Trump is referring to is in response to the devastation following Hurricane Maria, which left 3000 people dead and many more without power or water. Trump claims - inaccurately - that "Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before," and saying that the "crazed, incompetent" mayor and "incompetent, corrupt" politicians are squandering United States money.
Trump's $91 billion figure is far less than the actual amount of money Puerto Rico has received from the United States government, and it's well below the amount of money the federal government has spent in response to Hurricane Katrina. And Puerto Rico has only seen about $11 billion in aid so far - the $91 billion is a projected figure for ongoing relief spanning decades.
@realDonaldTrump Simply not true. Puerto Rico has not already gotten $91 billion. This is an estimate for federal… https://t.co/iiT2k17zjM— Steven Greenhouse (@Steven Greenhouse)1554205581.0
Disaster aid has been a point of contention between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans widely oppose sending more aid to Puerto Rico, citing concerns about funding for flood and tornado-ravaged Midwestern states. Democrats argue that a $600 million allocation for nutritional aid in Puerto Rico isn't enough.
Hey @realDonaldTrump Puerto Rico is part of the USA. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Puerto Rico pays taxes to U.S.A.… https://t.co/votoSsWKJ1— David Leavitt (@David Leavitt)1554213127.0
@realDonaldTrump If you needed proof that Donald doesn’t believe Puerto Rico is part of the USA... Here’s the tweet.— Angela Belcamino (@Angela Belcamino)1554205397.0
Notice what Trump is distracting with and very purposefully using to rally his base: the “Others.” The brown peop… https://t.co/NJkduHnTIv— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈)1554213426.0
Despite the president's questionable use of quotation marks, Puerto Rico deserves better.