Trump Has Only Love For Disaster Victims — Unless They Are Puerto Ricans

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has renewed his attacks on hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico with new and old falsehoods — in stark contrast to his tone and attitude toward disaster-stricken communities in states that voted for him.

Trump Tuesday wrote, falsely: “Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before, & all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money,” and then suggested, also falsely, that Puerto Rico is not part of the United States. “The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA.”

“No part of his statement is even factual,” said Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democratic member of the Florida legislature whose Central Florida district includes thousands of Puerto Rican migrants, including some who moved after Category 4 Maria struck the island in 2017. “His response to Puerto Rico reeks of racism. He treats Puerto Ricans the same way he treats Spanish-speaking immigrants. Like dirt. Like garbage.”

The White House did not respond to HuffPost requests for comment about Trump’s false statements, the tone of which also offers a striking contrast to his statements following previous storms.

“TEXAS: We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD!” Trump wrote on Sept. 2, 2017, after Hurricane Harvey hit.

(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

And last month, after tornadoes killed 23 in Alabama, Trump wrote: “FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes. @GovernorKayIvey, one of the best in our Country, has been so informed. She is working closely with FEMA (and me!).”

“What makes Puerto Rico different? It’s just really sad,” Smith said. “It’s why he’s so unpopular on the island.”

The Caribbean territory, acquired by the United States more than a century ago following the Spanish-American war, suffered the most devastating damage from a hurricane since Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. Nearly 3,000 residents died in the storm and in the aftermath — a number Trump claimed was fabricated by his political opponents to make him look bad.

His $91 billion figure appears to be an estimate of how much the reconstruction from the storm will wind up costing over the coming decades. In comparison, Katrina wound up costing $120 billion.

In fact, Puerto Rico has been approved to spend only $300 million in rebuilding assistance so far, the territory’s governor responded on Twitter. “We are Americans, we are your citizens,” Ricardo Rosello wrote. “Puerto Ricans ARE American farmers! American teachers! American citizens! American everything!”

Trump’s latest round of attacks on Puerto Rico started just before midnight Monday after a disaster relief spending bill failed in the Senate because Republicans voted with Trump not to appropriate additional money for Puerto Rico and Democrats would not support a bill that did not include it.

“The politicians are incompetent or corrupt. Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right, the place is a mess - nothing works,” Trump complained. “FEMA & the Military worked emergency miracles, but politicians like the crazed and incompetent Mayor of San Juan have done such a poor job of bringing the Island back to health. 91 Billion Dollars to Puerto Rico, and now the Dems want to give them more, taking dollars away from our Farmers and so many others. Disgraceful!”

On Tuesday, the president further claimed that he personally was “the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico” but that he “cannot continue to hurt our Farmers and States with these massive payments and so little appreciation.”

It is unclear on what basis Trump was making the first assertion, or whether more appreciation from Puerto Rican leaders would lead to faster and better treatment from FEMA.

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Maria Lopez cries while walking from her house that was flooded after the passage of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, on September 22, 2017. Puerto Rico battled dangerous floods Friday after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, as rescuers raced against time to reach residents trapped in their homes and the death toll climbed to 33. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello called Maria the most devastating storm in a century after it destroyed the US territory's electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.  / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL        (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Lopez cries while walking from her house that was flooded after the passage of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, on September 22, 2017. Puerto Rico battled dangerous floods Friday after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, as rescuers raced against time to reach residents trapped in their homes and the death toll climbed to 33. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello called Maria the most devastating storm in a century after it destroyed the US territory's electricity and telecommunications infrastructure. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Loiza, PUERTO RICO  SEPTEMBER 22: Aerial photo of the floadings in the costal town of Loiza, in the north shore of Puerto RicoHurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Loiza, PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 22: Aerial photo of the floadings in the costal town of Loiza, in the north shore of Puerto RicoHurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HAYALES DE COAMO, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 24:  Karlian Mercado, 7, rests on the rubble that remains of her family's home after it was blown away by Hurricane Maria as it passed through the area on September 24, 2017 in Hayales de Coamo, Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
HAYALES DE COAMO, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 24: Karlian Mercado, 7, rests on the rubble that remains of her family's home after it was blown away by Hurricane Maria as it passed through the area on September 24, 2017 in Hayales de Coamo, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Irma Torres poses for a picture at her damaged house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Irma Torres poses for a picture at her damaged house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Local residents react while they look at the water flowing over the road at the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Local residents react while they look at the water flowing over the road at the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man looks at damages on his flooded house, close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man looks at damages on his flooded house, close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man sits in a wheelchair next to washing machines at a shelter after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. Picture taken September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
A man sits in a wheelchair next to washing machines at a shelter after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. Picture taken September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
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LOIZA, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 22: A resident wades through flood water days after Hurricane Maria made landfall, on September 22, 2017 in Loiza, Puerto Rico. Many on the island have lost power, running water, and cell phone service after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
People stay at the roof of a damaged house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People stay at the roof of a damaged house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
PUERTO RICO  SEPTEMBER 23: A devastated house in Morovis Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 23: A devastated house in Morovis Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 22: Residents line up for gasoline days after Hurricane Maria made landfall, on September 22, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Many on the island have lost power, running water, and cell phone service after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 22: Residents line up for gasoline days after Hurricane Maria made landfall, on September 22, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Many on the island have lost power, running water, and cell phone service after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
A car submerged in flood waters is seen close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A car submerged in flood waters is seen close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A resident lay on a cot inside a shelter after being evacuated from a home near the damaged Guajataca Dam after Hurricane Maria in Isabella, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Amid their struggles to recover from�Hurricane�Maria, some Puerto Rico residents found it befuddling that President Donald Trump fired off a number of Twitter rants about professional athletes on Saturday -- yet made no mention of their dire situation. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A resident lay on a cot inside a shelter after being evacuated from a home near the damaged Guajataca Dam after Hurricane Maria in Isabella, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Amid their struggles to recover from�Hurricane�Maria, some Puerto Rico residents found it befuddling that President Donald Trump fired off a number of Twitter rants about professional athletes on Saturday -- yet made no mention of their dire situation. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People stop on a highway near a mobile phone antenna tower to check for mobile phone signal, after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria, in Dorado, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. Picture taken September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
People stop on a highway near a mobile phone antenna tower to check for mobile phone signal, after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria, in Dorado, Puerto Rico September 22, 2017. Picture taken September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
A dead horse is seen next to a road after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A dead horse is seen next to a road after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
An aerial view shows the flooded neighbourhood of Juana Matos in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Catano, Puerto Rico, on September 22, 2017. Puerto Rico battled dangerous floods Friday after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, as rescuers raced against time to reach residents trapped in their homes and the death toll climbed to 33. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello called Maria the most devastating storm in a century after it destroyed the US territory's electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.  / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO        (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows the flooded neighbourhood of Juana Matos in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Catano, Puerto Rico, on September 22, 2017. Puerto Rico battled dangerous floods Friday after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, as rescuers raced against time to reach residents trapped in their homes and the death toll climbed to 33. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello called Maria the most devastating storm in a century after it destroyed the US territory's electricity and telecommunications infrastructure. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.