Last fall, Patenaude expressed concern over the Trump administration’s intervention in disaster-recovery money that Congress had appropriated for Puerto Rico and states hit by hurricanes.
President Trump in late September grew incensed after hearing, erroneously, that Puerto Rico was using the emergency money to pay off its debt, according to two people with direct knowledge of Trump’s thinking.
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.
Statehood for D.C. and a well-designed process allowing Puerto Rico to make a choice about statehood should be near the top of the agenda of the next Democratic government.