Gov. Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico didn’t hold back Friday when commenting on the idea of using disaster funds to pay for a wall along the southern US border.
“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 was considering using disaster-relief funds earmarked for hurricane-affected areas such as Puerto Rico and Texas to pay for his proposed border wall, which is at the center of the partial government shutdown. According to the AP, the White House directed the Army Corps of Engineers to examine whether part of its budget could go toward building a wall.
Last year, Congress allocated nearly $14 billion in emergency funds for specific projects that have not yet been contracted out, the AP reported.
On Twitter, Rosselló said there was “no justification” for reclassifying money meant to help US citizens rebuild their communities. He added that “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,” he said in another tweet. “Which side are you on, @realDonaldTrump?”
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,” he said. “Help the USA rebuild.”
Puerto Rico is still recuperating from Hurricane Maria, the 2017 disaster blamed for more than 1,400 deaths.
Most of the deaths were associated with a lack of medical care caused by widespread power failures that were part of the largest blackout in US history. It took nearly a year for electricity to be restored in almost all of Puerto Rico.