White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley on Wednesday, Aug. 28, said that House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and the Democrats are lying to the American people when they condemned the Trump administration for diverting money from the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to support border security.
The Department of Homeland Security is shifting $271 million from other agencies such as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Coast Guard to expand its immigration detention capacity and to fund a program to return Central American migrants to Mexico while they wait for court cases in the United States.
Schumer wrote in a statement on Tuesday, “The Trump administration’s plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backward and cruel.”
“Taking these critical funds from disaster preparedness and recovery efforts threatens lives and weakens the government’s ability to help Americans in the wake of natural disasters. Congress appropriated these funds to meet the American peoples’ priorities and I strongly oppose this effort to undermine our constitutional authority,” he continued.
Democratic House members also strongly disagreed and accused DHS of going around their specific appropriations.
Talking on “America’s Newsroom,” Gidley argued that Democrats knew the money was not being diverted from “anything that can be used for recovery efforts or preparedness efforts,” according to Fox News.
“They know that, so this is a flat-out lie,” Gidley said.
“And, if the media is reporting it and continues to do so this way they either haven’t gotten to the conclusion of the fact that this pot of money can’t be used for recovery efforts, or they know it and they’re misreporting it, misrepresenting it—intentionally,” Gidley said.
Gidley went on to say that local politicians on the ground misusing taxpayer funds by giving it to politicians as bonuses, “watching food rot” and water go “bad,” are to blame for the criticism of past relief efforts after Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2018.
“The federal dollars that went down there were misused; they were abused. We pointed this out that the territory was in serious trouble because of the local politicians and what they had done in propping up their own bank accounts as opposed to helping the people of Puerto Rico,” Gidley continued.
He added, “The resources we deliver need to get to the people of Puerto Rico and that’s what this is about.”
The president took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to echo Gidley’s sentiments.
“We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You – Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!”
“Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth,” the president wrote. “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!”
Gidley said: “The president moved Heaven and Earth to try and help them rebuild. But, Democrats playing politics, they know—Chuck Schumer—this pot of money can’t be used for hurricane recovery or preparedness. He’s telling a flat-out lie.”