Trump defaulted on payments for his Puerto Rico golf course, leaving the territory with a $33 million tax debt

On Monday night, Donald Trump finally broke his near-deafening silence on the devastating situation in Puerto Rico with a series of tweets that tried to switch the narrative away from the fact that millions of people in the U.S. territory could be without power for up to six months and instead play up the island’s massive debt. But one thing the president failed to mention is the part he played in that mounting financial crisis.

Long before Hurricanes Irma or Maria decimated much of Puerto Rico’s physical structures, the island was already in trouble. Earlier this year, faced with $123 billion in debt (and growing), the U.S. territory took the unprecedented step of essentially declaring bankruptcy. But according to PolitiFact Florida, POTUS (before he was POTUS) only exacerbated the problem.

In May, Trump made it clear that he had little interest in helping Puerto Rico’s debt situation:

That tweet sparked the interest of the Florida Democratic Party, which issued a statement that very same:

“Puerto Ricans are tax-paying, American citizens, though it isn’t surprising that Donald Trump clearly doesn’t know those non-alternative facts. Trump is simply lying: the negotiations being discussed are not a ‘bailout,’ but would help provide desperately needed access to healthcare for seniors and children on the island. Instead of using Puerto Rican families as scapegoats and bargaining chips for the disastrous Republican budget process that will likely lead to a government shutdown, he should pay back the nearly $33 million he owes Puerto Rican taxpayers after yet another one of his businesses defaulted on the island.”

That failed business venture they were referring to was the Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico, which, according to Fortune, borrowed $26.4 million in government-backed bonds in order to pay for improvements, but later defaulted on a $119,814 to bondholders. In 2015, the club filed for bankruptcy, which is when Trump (who licensed his name to the property) desperately tried to distance himself from the place bearing his unbearable name.

“We have zero financial investment in this course,” Eric Trump (the vampire-looking one) told Bloomberg News in July 2015. “This has absolutely nothing to do with Trump. This is a separate owner. We purely manage the golf course.”

Except that Trump, according to BuzzFeed News, did pocket the hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from the resort, and when the club defaulted on those bonds and declared bankruptcy, left Puerto Rico’s taxpayers with a hefty $32.7 million bill to pay in order to clean up the soon-to-be-president’s mess.

So the next time you hear #45 swearing that he’s going to make America great again, ask him if his version of America includes Puerto Rico, too.

[h/t: @TheRynheart | Photo: AP]