President Donald Trump reportedly suggested selling Puerto Rico in 2017 after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
During an interview with the New York Times, former acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke described being shocked at the remarks during the meeting.
“The president's initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know," she told the Times. "Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?"
She said the idea was never seriously discussed or considered afterward.
Trump has often picked on Puerto Rico for Twitter attacks, particularly San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who blasted the slow federal response to the hurricanes that ravaged the island.
“Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth,” he ranted in an Aug. 28, 2019 tweet.
“Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!....
“….And by the way, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!” he added.
A relief fund of $17 billion approved after the hurricanes were only released in January with a series of tough restrictions, the Washington Post reported in January, with officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development claiming corruption concerns were behind the delay.
Critics, however, accused the Trump administration of delaying the release for political reasons, Business Insider noted.
At the times of the hurricane, Duke was criticized for the federal government's response and her claim that the storm, the damage it caused, and the government response was a “good news” story, CNN reported.
Duke’s criticism comes on the heels of former national security adviser John Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” who charged in an ABC News interview that Trump’s reelection would pose a “danger for the republic.”
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