President Donald Trump announced Wednesday an additional $448 million in funding to help Florida recover from last year’s Hurricane Michael.
The President said the funds would come immediately and was quickly criticized by Puerto Rican leaders, who pointed to his unfulfilled promise to provide $91 billion in aid to the devastated island.
Trump made the pledge during a campaign rally, following a visit to the Tyndall Air Force Base which was hit by the Category 5 storm.
“The money is coming immediately. No games, no gimmicks, no delays,” he said. “We will never, ever leave your side.”
He further pushed back against the claims made by Puerto Rican officials, maintaining that his administration gave Puerto Rico $91 billion for recovery efforts. The storm ravaged island has so far received $11 billion in recovery funds. It could, however, receive up to $91 billion over the course of several years.
President Trump then went on by presenting a piece of paper showing a bar graph of aid granted to Puerto Rico as compared to Florida and Texas following the hurricanes that devastated these states. He also once again praised his own response in the aftermath of the storm.
“What the Democrats want to do they want to give more and more and I say you know what, I have a great relationship with the people of Puerto Rico, but it hasn’t been fair the way they’ve treated all of us from the standpoint of their leaders because they complain, they want more money,” Trump told the crowd at the rally.
“And I think that the people of PR are very grateful to Donald Trump for what we’ve done for them. That was a bad storm,” he added.
Earlier in the week, Trump blamed Democrats for the deadlock in disaster relief funding negotiations, saying that aid to a number of states has been delayed due to Democrats’ insistence that more funds are provided to Puerto Rico.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the rally that the President was only “inflicting more needless suffering” on the island state and accused Senate Republicans of holding up disaster funding legislation. She noted that the House will hold a vote this week on a $17.2 billion disaster relief package, which includes $3 billion for flood-ravaged communities in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.
“We are now just weeks away from another hurricane season and Republicans continue to delay and play politics,” Pelosi said.