Trump has a long history of saying petty, offensive, and untrue things about Puerto Rico.
On Wednesday morning, with Tropical Storm Dorian just a few hours from slamming into Puerto Rico, Trump decided it was an excellent time to trash the island's government. Again.
He tweeted that Puerto Rico "is one of the most corrupt places on earth" and that "their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt." He then repeated his lie that "Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten." This claim has been debunked multiple times.
Trump then went on to declare that he was "the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!"
If you go way, way back to 2013, before Trump was in office, he actually seemed to like Puerto Rico, bragging about how his hotel there, Trump International Puerto Rico, "spreads luxury residences, a world class golf resort & beach club across 1,000 acres." However, like so many other Trump ventures, that hotel ended in disaster, with it filing for bankruptcy in 2015.
Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, Trump has had nothing but insults and attacks for the island, its leaders, and its people.
These are some of his most outrageous statements.
- Shortly after Hurricane Maria hit, as the island was without electricity or other basic needs and people were dying by the hundreds, Trump told them, "Do not believe the #FakeNews!"
- He blamed the people of Puerto Rico almost immediately, saying that that government was "not able to get their workers to help."
- He continued to deny the extent of the damage, complaining that "the Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R's. Shame!"
- Trump has also outright denied how many people have died since the hurricane, saying, "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000." He then blamed the Democrats: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico."
- He declared the government's shoddy response, which left 3,000 Americans dead, was "an incredible, unsung success."
- Much like his fixation with Greenland, Trump seems to think Puerto Rico can be bought or sold. He complained that with the (entirely imaginary) $91 billion given to the island, he could buy the island "four times over."
- Speaking of Greenland, he's also floated the idea of trading Puerto Rico for Greenland.
- Earlier this year, he decried food aid to the island as "excessive and unnecessary."
- Of course, nothing tops the weirdness of the paper towels. When Trump visited the island in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, he inexplicably threw paper towels at people."They had these beautiful, soft towels. Very good towels." Even more ridiculous than his loving description of the towels was his assertion the battered and displaced people there were "screaming and they were loving everything. I was having fun, they were having fun" and that they begged him to throw them the paper towels.
Trump's racist belief that Puerto Ricans aren't "real" Americans and don't deserve his help is going to lead to a lot more of these ignorant and insulting remarks.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.