Tropical Storm Dorian is bearing down on Puerto Rico, with landfall expected on parts of the island on Wednesday night.
President Donald Trump is already using the potential disaster to push lies about Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
The $92 billion number is simply incorrect, and this isn’t the first time the president has tweeted about it.
In July, Trump tweeted that “Congress foolishly gave 92 Billion Dollars” to Puerto Rico. NBC News’ Jane Timm fact-checked the president's statement, explaining that Congress had allocated only $42.5 billion and the island has so far received only a fraction of that:
Congress has allocated $42.5 billion to disaster relief for Puerto Rico, according to federal data, but the island had received less than $14 billion through May. Trump signed another aid bill in June that will send an additional $1 billion to the island. The bulk of aid dollars is still in Washington, much of it waiting on processes that require officials to submit a series of plans outlining how they expect to use the money and await federal approval.
What's more, the aid Puerto Rico received is a fraction of what it needs — Hurricane Maria inflicted an estimated $90 billion in damage on the island.
The island will receive additional funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency; The Washington Post reported that an Office of Management and Budget estimate of the possible liabilities over the life of the disaster could reach as high as $50 billion under the Stafford Act, though the estimate is expected to change and that number would take many years to reach.
And yet, when Trump tweeted the $92 billion number today, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell repeated it without noting that it was false.
Mitchell did not return to the topic of Puerto Rico for the rest of her show.
Update (8/27/19): An hour later, NBC News reporter Morgan Chesky debunked Trump’s claim while reporting from San Juan, Puerto Rico.