Trump wanted to SELL Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria claims his ex-HS Secretary – and says she was stunned by president’s response to crisis which claimed almost 3,000 lives in US territory
- The revelation was made by Elaine Duke, who took over the role during John F. Kelly’s transition to White House Chief of Staff in 2017
- ‘The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know,’ she recalled
- Duke added: ‘Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?’
- The lifelong Republican did add that Trump never seriously discussed selling Puerto Rico after that comment
- As Hurricane Maria made its way toward Puerto Rico, Duke argued for emergency declaration before it made landfall
- She said Mick Mulvaney, then the budget director, pushed back at the idea
- Mulvaney denied that he made the statements
Elaine Duke, former secretary of homeland security during the summer of 2017, said President Donald Trump was interested in ‘divesting’ or ‘selling’ Puerto Rico as it struggled during Hurricane Maria.
Duke, who had been with the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense for 30 years, filled the role during John F. Kelly’s transition to White House Chief of Staff in 2017.
She served in the role for four months before Kirstjen Nielsen was confirmed as Mr. Kelly’s permanent successor.
The revelation was made by Elaine Duke, who took over the role during John F. Kelly’s transition to White House Chief of Staff in 2017
‘The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know,’ she recalled of Trump’s comments regarding Puerto Rico. ‘Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?’
The former acting secretary of homeland security joins a growing list of former senior officials disgruntled by Trump’s erratic nature when handling his presidency, the New York Times reports.
Duke was especially taken aback when the president made the suggestion to sell the island.
‘The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know,’ she recalled. ‘Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?’
The lifelong Republican did add that Trump never seriously discussed selling Puerto Rico after that comment.
Duke fondly remembers passing out water to homeless people in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, following the aftermath of Hurricane Maria
Duke served in the administration as Hurricane Maria struck but also as the Trump administration imposed a travel ban on mostly Muslim countries and ended DACA.
While Duke was in favor of some of the president’s measures to tighten immigration security, she expressed disappointment that Trump’s message went from ‘America First’ to ‘America Only.’
Duke fondly remembers passing out water to homeless people in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, following the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. But she was not thrilled by sentiments expressed by Trump and his aides.
As Hurricane Maria made its way toward Puerto Rico, Duke argued for an emergency declaration before it made landfall. But she said Mick Mulvaney, then the budget director, pushed back at the idea.
Acting Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke, center, is briefed on the Hurricane Maria response during a flight to Puerto Rico
‘Quit being so emotional, Elaine, it’s not about the people, it’s about the money,’ she said Mulvaney told her.
Mulvaney denied making the remarks.
‘I never made such a remark,’ he told the Times. ‘My experience with the acting director was that she rarely got anything right at D.H.S. At least she’s consistent.’
While she was happy the president would later express sympathy for Puerto Rico, she grew frustrated when Trump engaged in back and forth with local politicians from the island on Twitter.
It is estimated at least 2,975 people died on the island during Hurricane Maria, which caused the longest power outage in U.S. history on the island
‘My thought process for both sides is all the negative energy is a distraction,’ she said.
Duke felt that she was often outside the core group of White House advisers.
‘There is a singular view that strength is mean,’ she said, ‘that any kind of ability to collaborate, or not be angry is a weakness.’
The former senior official is currently unclear on whether she plans on voting for Trump again.
‘That’s a really hard question,’ she said. ‘But given the choices, I don’t know yet.’
It is estimated 2,975 people died in the storm that left the island without fresh, running water and no electricity in the longest power outage in U.S. history. However, controversy surround official tolls of the lives lost during the hurricane.
The time Trump got angry at Denmark after they rejected his offer to buy Greenland
Last August, Donald Trump repeatedly asked his advisers with ‘varying degrees of seriousness’ if it would be possible for the U.S. to acquire the autonomous Danish territory, two sources told the Wall Street Journal.
‘What do you guys think about that?’ Trump asked a table of aides about the island purchase last spring, a source said. ‘Do you think it would work?’
Additionally, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a close Trump ally on Capitol Hill, also is interested in purchasing Greenland.
Cotton raised the idea in August 2018 when Danish Ambassador Lone Dencker Wisborg dropped by his Senate office, The Atlantic reported. Cotton also discussed the idea with Trump – although no time frame was given for when that conversation took place.
Donald Trump has cancelled his last year meeting with Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen because she refused to talk about potentially selling Greenland
Greenland’s government insisted that it was not for sale, with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen calling the plan to buy ‘absurd’.
That angered Trump, who said that Frederiksen was being nasty and cancelled his trip to Denmark that was scheduled two weeks following the August remarks.
‘I thought that the prime minister’s statement that it was absurd – that it was an absurd idea – was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn’t be interested,’ he told reporters on the South Lawn at the time.
He repeatedly went back to her word ‘absurd’ when asked about American-Danish relations after officials refused to consider his offer to buy the world’s largest island – and complained Frederiksen could not treat the U.S. that way.
Trump originally said Greenland was not the reason for his trip to Denmark
‘She shouldn’t treat the United States that way. She said absurd. That’s not the right word to use. Absurd,’ he said of Frederiksen’s reaction to but Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory.
‘I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn’t be interested,’ he added.
‘I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something. They could have told me no,’ he said. ‘All they had to do is say, no, we would rather not do that or we would rather not talk about it. Don’t say what an absurd idea that is.’
Queen Margrethe II and the royal household expressed surprise at the sudden cancellation, which was announced on Twitter in typical Trump fashion, while other prominent Danish politicians described it as ‘deeply insulting’.
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