Trump reportedly wants to stop giving Puerto Rico hurricane relief funds because of theory about debt repayment

  • President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that Puerto Rico was using federal funding meant to go towards Hurricane Maria recovery to pay off debt. 
  • He reportedly told White House officials that he wants stop giving Puerto Rico federal funding for hurricane recovery. 

President Donald Trump wants stop giving Puerto Rico federal funding for Hurricane Maria recovery, according to a report from Axios.

According to the report, White House officials told congressional leadership that Trump claimed without evidence that Puerto Rico's government is using the disaster relief money to pay off debt.

Trump can't take disaster funds back that he's already given to Puerto Rico or set aside by Congress, but he reportedly could refuse to sign any future spending bills, according to Axios.

The report comes after a Wall Street Journal article said Puerto Rico bond prices had soared "after the federal oversight board that runs the US territory's finances released a revised fiscal plan that raises expectations for disaster funding and economic growth."

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Chickens stand at the entrance to a house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
People gather to chat outside a mini-market that uses electricity from a generator, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 12, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A house partially destroyed by hurricane Maria and illuminated with electricity from a generator stands in the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 13, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
David Lopez walks out of his house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Karla Gerrido works on her computer in front of a fan that works with electricity from a generator, at her house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Miguel Rosario Lopez watches a television that works using electricity from a generator, while his wife Milagros Jimenez walks through their house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Chickens walk through a house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Wanda Ramos looks out from the house of her husband's family where she is living after her house was totally destroyed by hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 12, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Itzaida Planas walks to the house of a neighbour, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A car drives down a street during the night at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 13, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Franco Deaza (L) carries a water container into his family's house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Samuel Vasquez rebuilds his house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, while his wife Ysamar Figueroa looks on, whilst carrying their son Saniel, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Houses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Maria stand at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Carlos Ventura carries a corrugated metal sheet to be used for a ceiling, while he helps a neighbour to rebuild her house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Milagros Jimenez helps her husband to rebuild their house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Joe Quirindongo tries to repair a makeshift tent where he keeps some belongings at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Yeriel Cruz, 4, looks out of the window of his family house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Milagros Jimenez poses for a picture at her house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Hector Martinez gives cookies to his dog at the house of his girlfriend Maria Vega Lastra, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Houses partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria are seen at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Jorge Salgado poses for a picture next to a house he built with parts of his house, which was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 12, 2017. Salgado said: "I lost everything, but we have to keep living". Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A woman washes her car in front of houses which were partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A handwritten address sign is attached to a post on a street at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
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Trump was reportedly angry about the October article, and developed a conspiracy theory that disaster relief funds were paying off debt in Puerto Rico.

Last month, Trump falsely claimed in a tweet that Puerto Rico's "inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations."

At the same time, White House officials told Congress that Trump "doesn't want to include additional Puerto Rico funding in further spending bills," a congressional leadership aide told Axios.

 "He was unhappy with what he believed was mismanagement of money," the aide said.

Other sources said Trump misinterpreted the Wall Street Journal article and that he told top officials he wanted to stop setting aside funds for Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief.

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