“You know we’re trying to save money, you know I’m cutting budgets and we’ve cut a lot of budgets,” the president told The Post in an Oval Office sitdown Wednesday when asked about the hefty price tag for upgrading the Hudson River rail tunnels.
“But you know we had a thing called hurricanes and fires that happened that had a huge impact on the numbers,” he continued.
“On the money that’s being spent, and a place where money is being spent more than anywhere else? Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico. The money we have spent on Puerto Rico is beyond belief.”
Despite those efforts, Trump said, his administration gets no gratitude from officials of the US commonwealth.
“We got no credit for it, but the money that they want, it’s a tremendous amount of money. It’s beyond anything that I’ve ever seen, far more than Florida, far more than Texas, and it has to be studied. It has to be studied, it’s a massive amount of money. And the problem is no matter how good a job you do, you don’t get credit for it,” he said.
Puerto Rico, in a report to Congress, estimated the total cost of recovery from Hurricane Maria at $139 billion. FEMA has so far authorized $60 billion in disaster relief funds.
“You have, you have a mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who’s totally incompetent. And you know, no matter what you do, she was complaining two weeks before the hurricane got there,” he said about Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, who has repeatedly criticized Trump for what she called a slipshod response to the disaster.
“She was complaining about the hurricane before it was formed. There was no sense of appreciation, and the money is massive. It’s beyond massive. And so I’m studying that very seriously,” the commander-in-chief stated, without elaborating on what kind of “study” would be conducted.