White House advisor on Puerto Rico: Trump has done so much for "that country"

I don’t see the problem here. It’s well known that Puerto Rico is one of the “three Mexican countries.”

Hogan Gidley notes at the end of the clip that this was a slip of the tongue, that of course he meant to say “U.S. territory.” But c’mon: Does anyone doubt that POTUS has described PR in private as one of the many foreign “sh*tholes” he’s forced to deal with? He reportedly complains chronically to aides and to GOP senators that money shoveled at the island is destined to go to waste:

Trump sees the island as fundamentally broken and has told advisers that no amount of money will ever fix its systemic problems.

He describes in meetings that large swaths of the island never had power to begin with and that it is “ridiculous” how much money is going to Puerto Rico in food-stamp aid, according to the senior official. He has occasionally groused about how ungrateful political officials in Puerto Rico were for the administration’s help, the official said…

[A]ides have described a president who regularly brings up the island to make sure it is not getting too much money. Current and former officials say Trump often complains in meetings that Puerto Rico does not even know how to spend the money the island has been allocated.

Allegedly he told Senate Republicans at lunch recently that one could buy Puerto Rico four times over with the $91 billion it’s getting in disaster aid, although it’s … not getting that amount, per WaPo. That’s just the estimate of how much hurricane damage the island suffered. Anyway, it’s good that he’s on patrol for wasteful spending but emergency funds are one area of the budget, like military spending, where you’d expect him not to pennypinch. Part of the appeal of a national strongman is that he swoops in amid a crisis and makes things right. But I suppose that goes back to Gidley’s slip: Given that Puerto Rico isn’t part of the mainland United States and has an overwhelmingly Latino population, to a reactionary it fits more easily into the template of an independent Caribbean nation than part of the American nation. It makes sense that at a moment when POTUS is turning off the federal tap for actual foreign countries like El Salvador he’s looking to cut back on how much PR gets too.

Democrats are playing their own games with relief funding, blocking a Republican bill that would have provided another $600 million for food stamps to PR on grounds that that simply isn’t enough. (The Democrats’ own bill didn’t include funding for other areas hit by natural disasters, like the midwest, as the Republican bill did — although Dems offered an amendment to add that which was blocked by Republicans.) One similarity in the case for foreign aid to Central America and the case for disaster aid to Puerto Rico is that a decline in either might trigger more migration by the local population to the U.S. mainland. Maybe/hopefully the Border Patrol can stop foreigners from entering but Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens who can live where they please. The less inhabitable the island is, the greater the incentive to move to Florida. That worked out okay in the midterms since both Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis heavily courted the Puerto Rican vote. It might not work out as well next fall.

Long story short: No worse than 50/50 odds that Trump’s next emergency decree is a proclamation that Puerto Rico is henceforth its own country.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Video