- Gov. Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico hit President Donald Trump over his talk of using disaster funds to pay for the US-Mexico wall.
- Trump is said to be looking in to using disaster funding, allocated for areas hit by hurricanes, for the wall.
- Rosselló tweeted that there was “no justification” for US disaster relief funds to be taken from Americans trying to rebuild their communities.
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico didn’t hold back Friday when commenting on the idea of using disaster funds to pay for a wall along the southern US border.
“No wall should be funded on the pain and suffering of US citizens who have endured tragedy and loss through a natural disaster,” Rosselló tweeted. “This include those citizens that live in CA, TX, PR, VI and other jurisdictions. Today it’s us, tomorrow it could be you.”
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Trump was considering using disaster-relief funds earmarked for hurricane-affected areas such as Puerto Rico and Texas to pay for his proposed border wall. According to the AP, the White House directed the Army Corps of Engineers to comb through its budget, which includes $13.9 billion in emergency funds, to see whether any money could be used for wall-building purposes.
No wall should be funded on the pain and suffering of US citizens who have endured tragedy and loss through a natural disaster. This include those citizens that live in CA, TX, PR, VI and other jurisdictions. Today it’s us, tomorrow it could be you.
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) January 11, 2019
Last year, Congress allocated nearly $14 billion in emergency disaster relief funds for projects in states including California, Florida, and Texas, as well as in Puerto Rico, a US territory, the AP reported. The money, however, hasn’t yet been assigned to any contracts.
On Twitter, Rosselló said there is “no justification” for reclassifying money meant to help US citizens rebuild their communities. He added, “if anything, the conversation should be how we get more resources to rebuild those impacted areas faster.”
“This is a classic case of choosing between obstruction and construction. Which side are you on, @realDonaldTrump?” he asked on another tweet.
Because the sources in the original AP story are anonymous, Rosselló asked the president to “explicitly state what his intent is.”
“Mr. President, don’t tear down US citizens in order to build a wall. Help the USA rebuild,” he said.
Puerto Rico is still recuperating from Hurricane Maria, the devastating 2017 disaster that left a death toll of more than 1,400. The majority of the deaths were associated with a lack of medical care caused by widespread power outages, especially affecting those who relied on certain machines to stay alive.
The electric grid outage in the island is now the largest power blackout in US history. It took nearly a year for electricity to be restored in almost all of Puerto Rico.