President Donald Trump took to a stage in Panama City, Florida on Wednesday evening to deliver a rally speech that was mostly a round-up of his greatest hits — but while there were chants of “lock her up” and “build the wall,” the president also repeated some of his newer material, like his attacks on Puerto Rico.
During his speech, Trump seemed to position Puerto Rico as an adversary to Florida and told the crowd, “Puerto Rico got $91 billion. I understand they don’t like me. It’s the most money we’ve given to anybody. We’ve never given $91 billion to a state. We gave it to Puerto Rico. 91 billion. I’ll tell you.”
But the $91 billion figure is a falsehood that Trump has repeated on a few occasions. As the Washington Post reported, the actual number that Puerto Rico has received is $11.2 billion. The figure Trump is citing is the estimate for liabilities in the island over the next 20 years. The Post gave the claim three Pinocchios.
To back up his claim, Trump pulled a chart out of his pocket and said, “Very haphazardly, I just happen to have it with me.”
Watch the moment below:
Trump, who opened his speech touting how much disaster relief he’s given to Florida, indicates he thinks people of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico are ungrateful.
He then brandishes chart purportedly showing how much more he’s given PR than elsewhere & bashes PR politicians. pic.twitter.com/djY9XXoQL8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 9, 2019
Moments later — after criticizing them — the president told the crowd, “I have a great relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.” He added later, “I think that the people of Puerto Rico are very grateful to Donald Trump for what we’ve done for them.”
The White House’s relationship with Puerto Rico is shaky and sometimes staff seems confused by the basic concept of the island. During one interview, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley called Puerto Rico “that country,” despite the fact that it’s a U.S. territory.
During that same interview, Gidley also quoted the false $91 billion figure. And though Trump has raged against the island on Twitter, the people who live there are actually U.S. citizens.