President Says Puerto Rico Received “A Lot” of Federal Help Following Hurricane Maria
Puerto Rico has been “helped a lot” by the federal government according to Donald Trump. The president made the comment on Thursday to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló during a lunch with Governors -- Rosselló was the only Democrat present. Trump also “joked” that he would support statehood for Puerto Rico -- Puerto Ricans have chosen twice in the past five years to not be a territory anymore and it’s a cause which Rosselló supports -- if the island promised to elect two Republican Senators. The president’s tone-deaf comments come after a Harvard study found that the island’s government greatly underestimated the death toll in Puerto Rico from the storms by more than 70 times the territorial government's official estimate -- the total could be as high as 5,000. Thousands of Americans on the island still do not have power, more than nine months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Trump also said that Rosselló took advantage of the damage from the hurricane to seek federal funds to rebuild a power plant, saying “Ricardo inherited a power plant that was virtually useless and it was in bankruptcy ... He was very brilliant. He blamed the hurricane for destroying the power plant.” The island’s government has never said that the storm had destroyed a power plant, though the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has been embattled for years. The president has previously complained about the cost of the post-Hurricane Maria efforts in Puerto Rico and has intimated corruption on the island. More here.