Donald Trump launched a new attack on Puerto Rico on Wednesday while Tropical Storm Dorian is on its way to the island and is expected to reach hurricane status this weekend.
The president scolded against & # 39; crooked poles & # 39; in Puerto Rico that & # 39; billions of dollars & # 39; issue after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island in 2017 – a claim that has not been verified.
Trump has defended his dealings with Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Maria – especially as Tropical Storm Dorian runs to US territory and expects to land on Wednesday.
Donald Trump launched a new attack on Puerto Rico while Tropical Storm Dorian is on its way to the island
Tropical storm Dorian is expected to create hurricane status this weekend
& # 39; Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either incapable or corrupt. Congress approved billions of dollars last time, more than anywhere else it has received, and it is being sent to Crooked Pols. Not good!, & Tweet the president.
He added: & # 39; And by the way, I'm the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico! & # 39;
It was his third attack on the island in 24 hours and his second tweet barrage of the day.
& # 39; We follow the tropical storm Dorian, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and everyone else is ready and will do great. When they do, let them know and thank them – not like last time. That also applies to the incompetent mayor of San Juan!, & He wrote earlier Wednesday.
Dorian could reach hurricane status from Sunday while it makes its way through the Caribbean. Puerto Rico receives a hurricane warning as the storm approaches.
The island is expected to get up to 10 centimeters of rain.
Tropical storm Dorian strengthens up to 70 mph winds on Wednesday morning, just 4 mph from hurricane status.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley was shortly before Trump's tweets on Wednesday at Fox News and criticized local officials in Puerto Rico for abuse of tax money.
& # 39; Most of the money that we sent there, we now know that some have been charged on the spot for misuse of that money, giving it to politicians as bonuses, looking at the food rot in the ports, the water went bad. The president has done everything to ensure that the people in Puerto Rico are prepared for this next storm and they are still rebuilding because of the billion dollars we have sent there & # 39 ;, he said.
& # 39; The territory was in serious trouble because of the local politicians and what they did. Give their own bank accounts instead of helping the people of Puerto Rico, & Gidley added.
In the meantime, Trump signed an emergency statement for Puerto Rico on Tuesday evening, meaning that it is now eligible for federal aid.
The president and officials on the island have been arguing since Maria struck it in October 2017, during the first year that Trump was in office.
But Puerto Rico has had other political problems.
Governor Ricardo Rosselló, described by Trump as & # 39; terrible & # 39 ;, resigned late last month for offensive and homophobic chat messages revealed to the public and causing massive protests throughout the island.
The publication on 13 July of those chat messages between Rosselló and top assistants caused smoldering resentment about his treatment of devastating hurricanes in 2017, alleged corruption in his administration and the island's bankruptcy process.
Trump also unleashed Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on San Juan on Wednesday, who has been a regular target of his anger on Twitter when he flew over Puerto Rico.
Tropical storm Dorian strengthens up to 70 mph winds on Wednesday morning, just 4 mph from hurricane status
Trump called Governor Ricardo Rosselló & # 39; terrible & # 39; and said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz & # 39; terrible & # 39; used to be
Cruz called Trump a & # 39; racist & # 39; when she responded to his earlier criticism of the island.
& # 39; We say to the President of the United States: will his lie end – will that ever end? Will there ever be an end to his racism and vengeful behavior towards the people of Puerto Rico? & # 39; said Cruz. & # 39; This is not how a president behaves, this is not how a person behaves towards adversity. & # 39;
The mayor gave as well as she received and called the president & # 39; unleashed & # 39; when the two came tit-for-tat in Twitter in April.
Trump started when he tweeted from Cruz – during a long rage in Puerto Rico – & The crazy and incompetent mayor of San Juan did such a bad job of making the island healthy again. & # 39;
And she shot back in her own tweet: & # 39; Pres Trump continues to embarrass himself and the office he holds. He is beaten loose and therefore lies about the $ that PR has received. & # 39;
An argument Trump made Tuesday, but did not repeat Wednesday, is that the island has received $ 92 billion in aid funds.
& # 39; Wow! Another big storm on the way to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end? The Congress approved $ 92 billion for Puerto Rico last year, a record of its kind for & # 39; everywhere & # 39 ;, & # 39; he tweeted Tuesday.
People gather on the coast hours before the storm enters Patillas, Puerto Rico
Employees prepare the building for the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian in Humacao, Puerto Rico
However, it is unclear where the president has received the $ 92 billion amount he has repeatedly touted because of the amount of aid that Puerto Rico has received. The island had an estimated $ 90 billion damage after Maria.
Congress has allocated $ 42.5 billion to disaster relief for the island, but US territory had received less than $ 14 billion until May, according to a NBC News check facts.
Most money is waiting because of processes where civil servants must submit a plan describing how they expect to use the money and get federal approval for it.
Trump uses the $ 92 billion number on a large scale to claim that he has done enough for the island, which has effectively destroyed its electricity grid in the storm, along with damage to homes, businesses, and other infrastructure.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump traveled to the island in October to assess the damage, but the visit did not detract from the ongoing dispute.
During his visit, Trump told officials to be proud that only 16 people had died in Hurricane Maria and he threw rolls of paper towels in a crowd in a church in San Juan, resulting in photo & # 39 ; s that went viral.
A total of 3,057 people died on the island as a result of that hurricane.
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