President Trump announced plans to bolster pharmaceutical manufacturing in Puerto Rico from China, touting the help he has given the island and pointing to Democratic nominee Joe Biden for its economic woes.
“I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House on Friday, announcing $13 billion in federal aid to Puerto Rico. “We’ve done more for Puerto Rico than any administration by far.”
The announcement Friday directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency aid to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and rebuild schools, among other initiatives.
Trump called former President Barack Obama and Biden “a disaster” for the territory.
While a senator, “Biden devastated the island of Puerto Rico,” Trump said, by voting to eliminate a tax provision “that allowed Puerto Rico to become a dominant player in pharmaceutical manufacturing.”
Puerto Rico has a large bloc of voters who live in Florida, one of the critical swing states.
“We’re building that up as a great medical pharmaceutical manufacturing area,” Trump added. “They made it impossible for people to stay, so people went to China mostly and other countries. Puerto Rico has been very corrupt in terms of its politicians.”
The White House began reviewing legislation to return pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing to Puerto Rico earlier this year, calling this “a national security issue and an economic security issue” in an interview with the Washington Examiner in June.
Speaking to the Washington Examiner on Friday, Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, a Republican from Puerto Rico who has been working with the administration, praised the White House’s response.
“Everything that we asked, he delivered,” Gonzalez-Colon said, calling the authorized funds “unprecedented” and pointing to more federal funds that have been approved to the island through Community Development Block Grant disaster relief.
“Never before was FEMA authorized to approve this amount of money to any other jurisdiction or state,” she said. “Puerto Rico is the first one. And for us, this is the biggest allocations of funds, ever.”
She added: “We are talking about real money, real commitment, real funds.”
“We’re bringing Puerto Rico back, and we’ll have it very quickly,” Trump said on Friday, calling the news “very exciting.”
He added: “We’ve spoken to many companies.”
In a Trump campaign press call this week, former Puerto Rico Attorney General Jose Fuentes praised the administrations “plan to move pharmaceutical and medical device production back to Puerto Rico from China.”
Author: Katherine Doyle
Source: Washington Examiner: Trump unveils $13B for Puerto Rico and pushes return of island’s drug manufacturing