Trump Allegedly Asked If He Could Sell Puerto Rico Instead Of Investing In The Island’s Future
It’s no surprise that the Trump administration has been full of surprises. Over the last 3 1/2 years, headline after headline have left many of us wondering what the actual f*** is going on inside the White House?
Over the last few weeks, a steady stream of people closely connected to the president – from family members to former cabinet members – have released books, given interviews, and spoken out about the commander-in-chief and many of the revelations are outright terrifying.
Donald Trump considered the idea of selling Puerto Rico in 2017 after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Ever since Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico in 2017, President Trump has expressed displeasure with the U.S. territory. After trying to limit recovery funds provided to the island last year, he finally signed a long-overdue disaster aid bill before taking to Twitter to declare himself the “best thing that ever happened” to Puerto Rico.
However, according to a New York Times story, Trump floated the idea of selling Puerto Rico so he wouldn’t have to deal with the issue any further. Elaine Duke, a Republican who served as acting head of Homeland Security from July to December 2017, told the Times in an interview, “The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know: Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?”
The latest revelation is just the latest in a string of attacks and disdain for the island territory from the Trump administration.
Hurricane Maria devastated the island – three years later it’s still struggling to rebound.
The 2017 hurricane season was one for the record books. And Puerto Rico was front and center in a particularly destructive season. Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused $43 billion to $159 billion in damage to the island and left nearly 3,000 people dead. The island continues to rebuild and that’s in no small part to the incompetence of both local leaders and the Trump administration.
In the wake of Maria, Trump and Puerto Rican officials blamed each other amid the island’s recovery, with the president faulting local officials for their management of relief funds. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz criticized the administration for the delay in federal response to hurricane recovery, prompting the president to target Cruz in several tweets, and call her “incompetent.”
Things got so heated that White House officials told congressional leaders and appropriators not to give any more money to Puerto Rico in November 2018, CNN noted. However, the Washington Post reported a relief fund of $17 billion was released in January with tough restrictions. Administration officials attributed the delay to corruption concerns, but critics said the postponement was political.
Trump has consistently denied any fault for his administration in the aftermath of the storm. The President has instead sought praise for his handling of Hurricane Maria, calling it “an incredible, unsung success” last year.
As shocking as the suggestion is, it’s not the first time Trump has floated similar ideas.
The idea of selling Puerto Rico – just to avoid having to put in any work – is so Trumpian that the allegation sounds extremely likely true. And the incident is hardly the first in which Trump has worn his “businessman” hat in the Oval Office.
Last August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the president, in conversation with top aides “with varying degrees of seriousness,” floated the idea of purchasing Greenland. The gigantic Arctic island, which is rapidly melting thanks to climate change, is a self-ruling part of Denmark and is definitely not for sale. Trump nevertheless apparently believed that Greenland could somehow be purchased. In fact, a 2019 New York Times article reported that a former official heard the president joke that he would be happy to trade Puerto Rico for Greenland.
For Dukes part, she believes that the whole point of Trump’s plan one to be mean. She tells the Times, that “There is a singular view that strength is mean, that any kind of ability to collaborate, or not be angry is a weakness.” She said Trump embraces “hate-filled, angry and divisive” language that distracts from the real issues.
Duke is the latest former top White House security official to denounce Trump’s handling of the job, joining Kelly, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former national security adviser John Bolton.
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