HF Statement on Trump’s Denial of Death Toll in Puerto Rico

September 13, 2018 (New York, NY) – Hispanic Federation President José Calderón has issued the following statement on Trump’s denial of death toll in Puerto Rico.

“Without citing any evidence, President Trump claims today that last month’s independent report showing 3,000 American citizens in Puerto Rico died because of Hurricane Maria is a political ploy to hurt him. The truth: his administration’s woeful response is largely responsible for those deaths. Through a shameful combination of indifference and negligence, the Trump administration managed to aggravate an already terrible natural disaster. By its own admission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has reported that it was woefully unprepared to provide relief aid to the island and that it failed to recognize the severity of the storm and the disruption it would cause to the island's already weakened infrastructure. The President loves to spew and create fake news, but facts are facts.

“Nearly one year after Hurricane Maria, thousands are still displaced, have no homes, jobs, or access to health care in Puerto Rico. Schools have been closed, businesses have struggled to reopen, and the island's most vulnerable residents are just one storm away from losing what little they have. On this front too, the Trump administration and his enablers in Congress have failed to treat Puerto Rico fairly by failing to approve legislation that would rebuild and revitalize the island's transportation network and energy grid, incentivize investment, and create a just recovery for all of the island's residents.

“Against this backdrop of incompetence and ambivalence, today's tweet casting doubt on the deaths of thousands is like sacks of salt being poured on our open wounds. Yet, we’ve learned sadly that expecting President Trump to do and say the right thing is an exercise in futility. It is too much for him to be empathetic, fair and decent, and be the leader of a diverse nation. It is why this month, we have joined forces with grassroots, faith-based, academic and labor leaders across the country to launch the Take Action for Puerto Rico! Campaign. This movement of people and organizations is taking action to demand that our federal government meet its legal and moral responsibilities towards Puerto Rico and properly address the ongoing humanitarian, social and economic crisis our fellow citizens on the island are enduring. If you would like to join us in this critical effort, please contact us at"