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Trump announces billions in aid for Puerto Rico although he once called it "one of the most corrupt places on earth"

Trump announces billions in aid for Puerto Rico
Trump announces billions in aid for Puerto Rico 06:45

President Trump announced billions in funding Friday for Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory whose leadership the president has derided in the past as "corrupt." Mr. Trump made the announcement in a White House news conference days after his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, introduced a recovery plan for Puerto Rico. 

"We've done more for Puerto Rico than anybody," Mr. Trump said. 

Asked why he's pushing for the aid package now so close to the election instead of a year ago, the president said, "because what we're doing is we've been working on it for a long time." 

Mr. Trump famously visited Puerto Rico and threw out paper towels after Hurricane Maria devastated the island's infrastructure. In August 2019, he called it "one of the most corrupt places on earth" and suggested Congress shouldn't give it so much money. 

"Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!...." the president tweeted in August 2019. 

"The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations," the president also tweeted in October 2018. "The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!"

During his news conference Friday, Mr. Trump also insisted a coronavirus vaccine is just around the corner, even as his top experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci urge caution on such a quick timeline. The president claimed 100 million doses will be manufactured by the end of the year, and enough doses for every American will be available by the end of April. 

The president, who contradicted his own Centers for Disease Control director and his FBI director publicly this week, was asked if he thinks he knows better than his experts.

"Yeah, in many cases I do," the president said.

On Friday, the president tried to insist that former Vice President Joe Biden did a horrible job handling the H1N1 pandemic, while his administration has done a much better job with a much tougher virus. 

"Biden FAILED BADLY with the Swine Flu. It was the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight". He didn't have a clue. We have done an incredible job with the much tougher China Virus!" Mr. Trump tweeted.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 12,469 Americans died from H1N1 from April 2009 to April 2010, while 196,277 Americans have died so far from COVID-19 over six months.

Mr. Trump visited Wisconsin Thursday night for a campaign rally, and he'll be in Minnesota on Friday night for another rally. The president is trying to win both of those midwestern states in November. 

During his Thursday night rally, Mr. Trump suggested coronavirus statistic would be much better without Democrat-run states. 

"We're doing a great job. But if you really see a great job," Mr. Trump said Thursday night. "Take New York and some of these other Democrat run states out of it. You'll see numbers that are unbelievable. Because New York had a very, very hard time. A lot of bad things happened. But if you take a few states out and you'll really see numbers."

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