Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is hitting back at President Donald Trump’s repeated smears of the island as the U.S. territory attempts to continue its recovery from Hurricane Maria and pleads for more federal assistance.
“It’s not ‘us’ vs ‘them,’” Rosselló wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “It’s about Americans in need.”
The governor was responding to Trump’s claim via a Twitter post that Puerto Rican politicians “complain & ask for more money” while spending it “foolishly or corruptly.”
Within his tweet, Trump erroneously stated that Puerto Rico received $91 billion to rebuild from the devastating 2017 hurricane. A Washington Post fact check put the actual figure at just $11.2 billion, speculating that the president was likely referring to a longterm estimate of the funds that may be needed rather than the money that had already been dispersed.
Rosselló followed up with a second tweet saying that the residents of Puerto Rico “are wonderful people” and reminding the president, “We are Americans, we are your citizens.”
Rosselló, the leader of Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party, called on senators from both sides of the political aisle to come to an agreement on new funding to help the island’s rebuilding efforts.
Legislation stalled on Monday in the Senate over disagreements between the two parties on funneling more federal dollars to Puerto Rico.
Trump recently claimed he had “taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever” ― echoing previous self-adulation for his response to the natural disaster and boasting of “a great relationship” with the territory’s residents.
But ever since the hurricane’s immediate aftermath, critics have hammered Trump and his administration for responding half-heartedly to the crisis and leaving the island short of the resources it needs to make a full recovery.
In February, NBC News spoke with a community leader in central Puerto Rico who reported that throughout the area, roads remained in a dilapidated condition, many homes were still covered in blue tarps and lighting had not yet been fully restored.
According to CNN, Rosselló has repeatedly asked for a meeting with Trump to discuss the dire situation, but the president has ignored his request.