Human Rights

REPORT: Probe Confirms Trump Blocked Aid to Puerto Rico When it Needed it Most

A new report reveals that the administration of former President Donald Trump stonewalled an investigation examining why officials withheld roughly $20 billion in crucial hurricane relief for Puerto Rico in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, considered to be one of the deadliest natural disasters in 100 years, NBC News reports.

That report, made public Thursday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of The Inspector General, revealed that tensions between the department and the Office of Management and Budget caused serious procedural hurdles that delayed disbursal of the funds, which had been approved by Congress.

The Office of the Inspector General initiated the review in March 2019, after Congress requested the agency investigate hurricane aid delays as the Island struggled to recover from the storm that resulted in the deaths of 2975 people. The hurricane was so devastating that it triggered the world’s second-longest blackout.

Several months after the probe was launched, a pair of top HUD admitted they knowingly missed the deadline set by Congress to issue a notice that would have made billions in federal recovery available to Puerto Rico. Then-Secretary of HUD Ben Carson simply adopted typical Trump talking points — by disparaging Puerto Rico’s ability to manage the funds and citing concerns about corruption as a way to defend his agency’s inaction.

As President, Trump did everything he could to prevent the island, which is a territory of the U.S., from receiving the necessary disaster funding while also disputing and never acknowledging the death toll from this catastrophe. Even worse, he told top White House officials “that he didn’t want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico,” The Washington Post reported. “Instead, he wanted the money to go to Texas and Florida.”

How nice. We already knew Trump was despicable but this is another level of disgusting. The island was left without power for 11 months, leaving 1.5 million people in the dark. The results of the probe were revealed just two days after the administration of President Joe Biden lifted Trump imposed restrictions that were unique to Puerto Rico. The restrictions had limited Puerto Rico’s ability to access some $8.2 billion in block grant mitigation funds to help the island rebuild to become more resilient against natural disasters. The aid was approved by Congress in 2018.

The Biden administration has lifted additional restrictions but if you want to find out more I’m going to refer you to the NBC News link I provided above. The story provides a very good overview of just what the Trump administration did. This nasty group of people did so much to hurt innocent people and I’m quite sure Trump and his cronies don’t care because these people were brown. Because that’s the kind of person Trump is.

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meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus