Former DHS official: Trump called Puerto Rico ‘dirty,’ asked to trade it for Greenland
A former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official said Wednesday President Trump called Puerto Rico “dirty” and asked if it could be swapped for Greenland.
Miles Taylor, a former DHS official who has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said Trump asked about trading Puerto Rico for the Danish territory amid trips officials took to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
“The president’s talked before about wanting to purchase Greenland, but one time before we went down, he told us not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico. Could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland,” Taylor said Wednesday on MSNBC. “Because in his words Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor.”
“We don’t talk about our fellow Americans that way,” Taylor added. “The fact that the president of the United States wanted to take a U.S. territory of Americans and swap it for a foreign country is beyond galling.”
He said the president made the comment before a trip in August 2018.
A former White House official, who was unnamed at the time, told The New York Times last year that Trump had joked about trading the American territory for Greenland.
Miles told MSNBC he did not take the comment as a joke. He also said Trump expressed “deep animus toward the Puerto Rican people behind the scenes.”
“These are people who are recovering from the worst disaster of their lifetime. He is their president, he should be standing by them, not trying to sell them off to a foreign country,” Taylor said.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he “never heard of” Taylor, calling him a “former DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE,” after the group Republican Voters Against Trump featured Taylor in an ad.
In response, Taylor tweeted a photo of him with the president.
Asked about Taylor’s comments on MSNBC, White House spokesperson Judd Deere “said the former DHS official is “another creature of the D.C. swamp who never understood the importance of the president’s agenda or why the American people elected him and clearly just wants to cash in.”
“President Trump has an unprecedented number of accomplishments in spite of government bureaucrats who are only out for themselves, not the forgotten men and women of this country,” Deere added.
Deere did not directly refute Taylor’s claims over Trump’s questions about trading Puerto Rico.
The White House also denied suggestions that Trump has not taken care of the Puerto Rican people.
Trump frequently sparred with Puerto Rican politicians amid the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and criticism over his handling of the natural disaster.
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