Puerto Rico's governor criticizes Trump's talk of using disaster funding for border wall

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donald trump puerto rico governor ricardo rosselloPresident Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Washington.Associated Press/Evan Vucci

  • Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló hit President Donald Trump over his talk of using disaster funds to pay for the US-Mexico wall. 
  • Trump is reportedly planning on using disaster funding, allocated for areas hit by hurricanes such as Puerto Rico and Texas, for the wall. 
  • Rosselló tweeted that there is "no justification" for US disaster relief funds to be taken from Americans trying to rebuild their communities. 

Governor Ricardo Rosselló or Puerto Rico didn't hold back on Friday when he hit Donald Trump for his reported plan to use disaster funds to pay for the US-Mexico wall. 

"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 is reportedly considering using disaster relief funds earmarked for hurricane-prone areas such as Puerto Rico and Texas to pay for the US-Mexico 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 if any money could be used for wall-building purposes. 

 

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.

Read more: Trump is reportedly upset about old video footage showing him throwing rolls of paper towels at first-responders in Puerto Rico

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. 

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