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Top Trump Official Resigns In Protest After Trump Makes Racist Move Against Puerto Rico

Pam Patenaude, the deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has resigned in protest of the Trump administration housing policy and Trump’s effort to block relief funding for Puerto Rico, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Patenaude, HUD’s second in command, reportedly grew frustrated by the White House’s attempt to block federal relief money to the island following the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

According to the Post, Patenaude expressed concern in fall 2018 over the Trump administration’s attempt to block disaster-recovery money Congress appropriated for the island and states hit by hurricanes. Patenaude visited Puerto Rico a half-dozen times during her time in the role.

“I didn’t push back,” Patenaude told the Post, referring to Trump’s move to block relief funding. “I advocated for Puerto Rico and assured the White House that Puerto Rico had sufficient financial controls in place and had put together a thoughtful housing and economic development recovery plan.”

Carlos Mercader, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington, told the Post that Patenaude showed the “most commitment to Puerto Rico of any of the public officials inside the Trump administration.” Mercader joined Patenaude on several trips to the island.

Patenaude’s departure comes as HUD faces criticism for not renewing hundreds of expired affordable-housing contracts prior to the beginning of the partial government shutdown, which entered its 26th day on Wednesday. The Post noted that the move not to renew such contracts jeopardizes property owners’ budgets and low-income tenants’ housing stability.

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