During Friday’s press conference the president, staying true to form, once again lied to the media and to the American people. While boasting about his decision to finally send an additional 13 billion in aid to Puerto Rico – three years after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the still-recovering US territory, Trump had the audacity to assert that he is “the best thing to ever happen to” the island.
“I have to say, in a very nice way, very respectful way. I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.” Trump added, “Nobody even close.”
wait for it pic.twitter.com/g8nTOJs6aS
— Peter Wade (@brooklynmutt) September 18, 2020
The president’s sudden reversal to send new disaster relief is more than likely politically motivated. As CNN points out, following the hurricane some residents of Puerto Rican moved to the swing state of Florida and as American citizens, they can vote in the coming election.
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reminded the president about his past harsh remarks where Trump made excuses for not helping the beleaguered island, saying that Congress sent them too much money. Karl quoted Trump from 2019 claiming “Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on Earth.”
But Trump’s bragging about being an ally to Puerto Rico also flies in the face in the way he callously acted during his visit there weeks after the storm. Video of the president tossing rolls of paper towels to hurricane survivors went viral and came across as insensitive to many.
And just last month, Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff told a story about the president’s seeming utter disdain for the island. According to Taylor, Trump asked other government officials if he could sell Puerto Rico for Greenland adding that Trump called the US territory “dirty” and the “people poor.”
“The president’s talked before about wanting to purchase Greenland. But one time before we went down, he told us not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico. ‘Could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland?’” Taylor said, quoting the president.
“Because, in [Trump’s] words,” Taylor added, “Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor.”
The former Homeland Security official continued by blasting Trump for the disparaging way the president spoke about American citizens, making it clear that Trump was not joking.
“These are Americans. And we don’t talk about our fellow Americans that way. And the fact that the president of the United States wanted to take a US territory of Americans and swap it for a foreign country is beyond galling… This is the man who sits behind The Resolute desk,” Taylor said.
Taylor continued, “I did not take it as a joke. And on multiple occasions, the president expressed interest in buying Greenland. And I’ll go even further about Puerto Rico. The president expressed deep animus towards the Puerto Rican people behind the scenes. These are people who are recovering from the worst disaster of their lifetimes. He is their president. He should be standing by them, not trying to sell them off to a foreign country.”