Dem brings paper towels to House floor to mock Trump’s Puerto Rico response

Camille Fine

A House Democrat presented a pack of paper towels on the House floor Tuesday as he lamented the Trump administration’s response to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said someone sent the paper towels to his office without explanation shortly after President Trump returned from his trip to Puerto Rico earlier this month.

The anonymous sender incidentally chose Viva brand paper towels, which translates in Spanish to the imperative conjugation of “to live.”


“I guess there’s a little irony, maybe because it’s in Spanish,” Gutiérrez said as he held up the 12-roll pack of paper towels.

Gutiérrez, whose family is from Puerto Rico, suggested perhaps the sender was taking a cue from Trump, who threw rolls of paper towels into a crowd during his Puerto Rico visit.

“Maybe after watching the president entertain himself by tossing paper towels at hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, some well-intentioned person thought that giving paper towels to Puerto Ricans was an appropriate sign of respect, the gift you give to Puerto Ricans after a major disaster to kind of cheer us up,” Gutiérrez said. “Viva!”

After returning from Puerto Rico for the second time in the last month, Gutiérrez said, “I can tell you one thing for sure: We need a lot more than paper towels from the president and this Congress.”

He then cast the paper towels onto the House floor and pointed to a poster with photos of the devastation in Puerto Rico.

“Of course the president said he gave himself a ’10.’ Tell that to the people who have to live there for weeks,” he said.

The official death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico rose to 51 on Tuesday. Many residents still remain without water and electricity.

The Senate is expected to clear a $36.5 billion package of disaster aid, including for Puerto Rico, later Tuesday for Trump’s signature.

Tags Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico

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