DNC on Trump’s Puerto Rico Announcement: More Empty Promises

In response to the Trump administration’s politically motivated announcement regarding Puerto Rico, DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:

“Donald Trump has consistently treated Puerto Ricans as second-class citizens. His administration failed Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria made landfall and the people desperately needed help, and throughout the recovery process. I visited the island after Maria to bring supplies to those in need. And I witnessed the worst devastation I’ve seen in my life. But instead of showing leadership, Trump abandoned our fellow Americans when they needed us most. At every step, Trump has chosen to attack Puerto Rico and to disrespect the memory of the thousands who died because of his negligence. His administration has knowingly ignored laws and consistently treated Puerto Rico as a bargaining chip.

“Puerto Ricans will not be fooled by his empty promises — the deaths, the suffering, and the struggles Puerto Ricans still face are a constant reminder that Trump talks plenty but does very little. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a comprehensive plan to help Puerto Rico rebuild and begin a new era of hope and prosperity; they will invest in recovery, not play games with disaster aid; they will provide more nutritional assistance and Medicaid funding, not slash them; and and they will treat Puerto Ricans with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

When Hurricane Maria hit, FEMA was unprepared and the administration showed a clear double standard in how it treated hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico versus other states. 

  • FEMA was unprepared for Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico and did not follow federal requirements to adequately prepare enough supplies before the storm.

  • The Trump administration held a persistent double standard in its handling of relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

After Hurricane Maria hit, Trump blamed Puerto Ricans and opposed providing the aid needed. Trump said he did a great job in relief, yet, as thousands died, he was preoccupied asking about selling Puerto Rico.  

  • Trump placed blame on Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation and opposed providing the aid they needed to recover.

  • An estimated 4,645 Puerto Ricans died because of Hurricane Maria and its effects, however, Trump gave himself “a 10” for his overall response.

  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Trump reportedly asked whether he could “sell” or “divest” from Puerto Rico.

In the years since, the Trump administration has knowingly ignored laws and stalled assistance, has refused to provide congressionally allocated assistance, and has slashed Medicaid funding for the island. All of this, while tens of thousands live under tarps. 

  • The Trump administration knowingly ignored laws and and have further stalled congressionally mandated aid to Puerto Rico.

  • Trump’s reckless government shutdown over his border wall delayed the distribution of hurricane recovery aid for Puerto Rico.

  • Last year, Trump slashed Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico as part of his budget negotiations.

  • On the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall, tens of thousands of homes in Puerto Rico continue to be uninhabitable, with many still living with tarps for roofs.