President Trump is finally getting around to approving aid for Puerto Ricans hit hard by Hurricane Maria — three years after the storm devastated the island.
Trump will approve an $11.6 billion package orchestrated by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.), CBS News' David Begnaud first reported. The funding will go toward rebuilding Puerto Rico's power grid that was largely destroyed during the hurricane, leaving some people without power for nearly a year, as well as to the island's education systems.
In a Thursday statement, Velasquez, who is from Puerto Rico and championed relief measures after Hurricane Maria, suggested Trump's motivations were largely political. Trump "dragged his feet and resisted allocating these badly needed funds" for the past three years, but "47 days before the election," seemed to have a change of heart, Velasquez said.
The Los Angeles Times' Chris Megerian was more explicit. In a tweet, he noted that Puerto Ricans are a "key demographic" in Florida; the more than 1 million estimated Puerto Ricans in the swing state could easily push it and the entire presidential race in Trump's direction.