With Puerto Rico under a hurricane watch on Tuesday, President Trump complained about “yet another big storm” heading toward the U.S. territory and lamented how much aid Congress had previously allocated for recovery efforts there, using an inflated figure.
“Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end?” the president wrote on Twitter. “Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for ‘anywhere.’”
As he has in the past, Trump dramatically overstated how much money Congress has allocated for recovery in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017. As of June 30, Congress had allocated $42.7 billion, with less than $14 billion reaching the island.
The larger figure cited by Trump is an estimate of potential storm-related liabilities over the next 20 years.
Trump’s tweet came after a hurricane watch was issued for Puerto Rico ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian.
The island was already under a tropical storm warning, with the threat of heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding and mudslides constituting the biggest concerns for the island of 3.2 million.
The island could see strong winds, too, although the winds were forecast to be only a fraction of what was experienced during Maria, a Category 4 hurricane that devastated the island.
Trump repeatedly feuded with leaders of Puerto Rico in that storm’s aftermath. He has since claimed that he was “the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.”
In June, Trump signed a broader disaster relief bill and took credit for aid to Puerto Rico — assistance he had opposed for months, causing long delays in getting help to several states struggling to recover from wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters.
Trump tweeted a picture of himself holding the legislation and wrote, “Just signed Disaster Aid Bill to help Americans who have been hit by recent catastrophic storms. So important for our GREAT American farmers and ranchers. Help for GA, FL, IA, NE, NC, and CA.”
He added: “Puerto Rico should love President Trump. Without me, they would have been shut out!”
In fact, the areas of the country ravaged by natural disasters had to wait months for the assistance because Trump pushed back against including more money for Puerto Rico.
Colby Itkowitz and Matthew Cappucci contributed to this report.