'Devastating blow.' Puerto Rican governor turns on Trump, slams GOP tax scam


The governor of Puerto Rico had previously praised the Trump administration for its response to Hurricane Maria. But even he is no fan of the GOP's dangerous tax scam bill.

The governor of Puerto Rico may have expressed gratitude and measured praise toward the Trump administration before, but he has none left for the dangerous tax scam bill that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are attempting to ram through Congress.

That's because a new cruel provision added to the bill takes aim at Puerto Rico's economy while the U.S. territory is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria.

"They are treating Puerto Rico as a foreign jurisdiction so they are levying a full tax," Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told NBC News. He noted that the bill includes a minimum 10 percent tax on companies' profits abroad, as well as a 12.5 percent tax on "intangible assets" of U.S. companies that are held offshore.

"It is devastating and unconscionable that Congress would do this at this juncture," he noted, expressing particular disappointment in Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's backtracking on his opposition to the bill once he got a concession he wanted.

Puerto Rico's economy has been mired in debt and debilitation for some time, and the massive hurricane made things exponentially worse.

Rosselló was charitable toward Trump in the aftermath of the storm, saying he was "very grateful" to the administration for its assistance, and that Trump had been "very attentive to the situation."

And when urged by Trump in front of the press to confirm his own self-congratulatory assessments, Rosselló said, "You responded immediately, sir."

Of course, the White House's handling of Hurricane Maria was not as competent as all that.

Trump started out by largely ignoring the crisis altogether, then tried to blame his poor response to the fact that the island is surrounded by a "very big ocean." He put the desires of shipping tycoons ahead of starving U.S. citizens, and lashed out at officials and residents of the country for "[wanting] everything to be done for them."

And when he finally got around to visiting Puerto Rico, he spent his brief time there whining about the amount of money the government had spent and throwing supplies at citizens like he was tossing out prizes at a carnival.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, whom Trump repeatedly attacked, had already noted that the tax scam "would be a much more devastating blow to [the Puerto Rican] economy than [Hurricane] Irma and Maria put together."

It seems the governor, waking up to the truth of who Trump and the GOP are, has now come around to the same conclusion.

As Rosselló told NBC News, Puerto Ricans will be "very mindful" in 2018 of who voted for the tax scam — and they will be ready to hold them accountable.