Taken in by an utter falsehood about how Puerto Rico was planning to misuse disaster relief funds, President Donald Trump reportedly wanted to starve the island even more than he ultimately did, saying he didn’t want them to have so much as a dollar and to funnel more funds to efforts in Texas and Florida.
That revelation came today in a Washington Post story about Pam Patenaude, Ben Carson’s deputy, departing the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the paper, which cited five sources, disagreements over the disaster relief response after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island were a major reason for her leaving. What was the disagreement, you ask? Per the Post:
Trump told then-White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and then-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney that he did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico, because he thought the island was misusing the money and taking advantage of the government, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive internal deliberations. Instead, he wanted more of the money to go to Texas and Florida, the person said.
“POTUS was not consolable about this,” the person said.
The notion that Puerto Rico was just waiting to get its hands on that sweet relief money to pay down its debt was an utter lie, but one that Trump and other Republicans parroted anyway. (I’ve reached out to the White House for comment on this reporting and will update if I hear back.) But “Not consolable” is a strange way to characterize a man who was looking for any excuse to leave Americans to die, but that’s our president.