SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after President Donald Trump threatened to cut assistance for millions of U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico. His attack came to light as the U.S. Senate prepared to vote on a supplemental disaster relief package that includes $600 million in nutrition funding for the island but falls short of what the related House bill provides to address the needs of American citizens in Puerto Rico and other territories.
“The president’s unprovoked, callous and cruel assault on American citizens shows just how far he will go to stoke fear and hatred toward the most vulnerable people in our country. President Trump has no problem helping some communities struggling to rebuild after terrible disasters, he just doesn’t want to help those in Puerto Rico.
“Eighteen months after Hurricane Maria, the island is yet to recover because of myriad factors including the extent of the devastation, the ongoing bankruptcy and the predatory practices of some on Wall Street. Meanwhile, families’ food stamps are being ripped away while schools and public infrastructure continue to crumble. Tens of thousands of people have already left for the mainland.
“That’s why the Senate urgently needs to pass a disaster relief bill that ensures Puerto Rico receives its fair share of federal funds needed to rebuild and recover. While the president is waging war, Congress can step up to the plate to create a viable future for the U.S. citizens who pay billions in federal taxes but far too often receive only vitriol and derision in return.”