Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced Tuesday that she endorses President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, saying that he is the candidate who is thinking about the needs of Puerto Ricans at this “difficult” time.
The governor encouraged Puerto Ricans to vote for Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election as she expressed her support for the president’s second term bid during an interview Tuesday.
Her announcement came just weeks after an aid package for the island was announced by the White House. The nearly $13 billion package aims to support the rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s electrical and education infrastructure following Hurricane Maria, which devastated the territory in September 2017.
The White House said last month that the aid exceeds the total public assistance funding in any single federally-declared disaster other than Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the destructive 2005 storms. According to the National Hurricane Center, Maria is the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history behind Katrina and 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.
Both Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have been working to woo Hispanic voters. Their support is considered critical in the perennial swing state of Florida, where many Puerto Ricans relocated after Maria.
Puerto Rico was already struggling financially before Maria struck, and filed a form of municipal bankruptcy in 2017 to restructure about $120 billion of debt and obligations. A large portion of its financial distress was linked to the power utility.
In a statement Tuesday, the Republican National Committee welcomed news of Vázquez Garced’s endorsement, saying that it is “further proof of the enthusiasm” the president is generating among the Hispanic community.
Biden’s campaign responded by calling her endorsement “a desperate, political stunt to win over Puerto Rican supporters.”