Trump has over the course of the last 24 hours tweeted several disparaging tweets about the federal aid to Puerto Rico since the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The president accused Puerto Rican government officials of corruption, mishandling aid, and incompetence, adding that it “only take[s] from the USA” despite the fact that Puerto Rico has been a United States territory for over a century.
Trump also falsely claimed that Puerto Rico has been given $91 billion in disaster aid since Maria’s landfall.
Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before, & all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2019
(In truth, “$91 billion” was the Trump administration’s maximum estimate of what recovery funds could cost, reported the Washington Post.)
When Jackson pressed Gidley over Trump’s disparaging and untrue remarks, he literally rolled his eyes and blamed Puerto Rico for the Trump administration’s gross mishandling of relief efforts, which have been widely lambasted as insufficient and inhumane.
“Does he believe they are not equal U.S. citizens?” she asked him. “Why would he say they’re taking from the U.S. when they are part of the U.S.?”
MSNBC's @HallieJackson to WH dep. press secretary Hogan Gidley: Trump "says Puerto Ricans are taking from the USA. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. People who live in Puerto Rico are U.S. Citizens. You're rolling your eyes and I don't know why you're rolling your eyes." pic.twitter.com/mDn9lWQA5E— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) April 2, 2019
Gidley went on to incorrectly refer to Puerto Rico *twice* as “that country,” an othering remark which he later dismissed as “a slip of the tongue.”
Discussing Trump lashing out at Puerto Ricans and complaining they've received too much money, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley twice refers to Puerto Rico as "that country" pic.twitter.com/GbzhWOniYU— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 2, 2019
“Do you think that’s a concern that there is that kind of slip of the tongue inside the White House?” Jackson asked.
“No,” replied Gidley. “A slip of the tongue is not on purpose, Hallie, that would by definition be a slip of the tongue.”
White House spox Hogan Gidley refers to Puerto Rico as "that country" on @HallieJackson's show. "With all we've done in that country, they have systematic mismanagement of the goods and services we've sent to them."— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) April 2, 2019
Gidley says later that it was "a slip of the tongue."
He also lied about the amount of aid actually given to Puerto Rico following Maria, asserting that “they have received more money than any state or territory in history,” despite Jackson pointing out that Louisiana was given more recovery funds in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (an estimated $120 billion.)
“These are things that are not true, just factually, from a factual basis,” Jackson said of Gidley’s remarks.
The president believes white farmers in the midwest are true Americans and therefore entitled to aid, and Puerto Ricans are not. It's not more complicated than that. pic.twitter.com/kUBq45pqcR— Adam Serwer? (@AdamSerwer) April 2, 2019
Listening to Hogan Gidley with @HallieJackson. He keeps referring to Puerto Ricans as “their people” which is a weird formulation for Americans. This isn’t aid being given to a foreign country.— Tim Miller (@Timodc) April 2, 2019
Wow. HoganGidley. The WH had to really troll the depths of the swamps to find this one. smh— Roxann_Minerals (@Roxann_Minerals) April 2, 2019
@HallieJackson rocked it with this Trumpian obfuscator. Even called him on his eye-rolling. LOL??
Hogan Gidley keeps talking about food rotting in the ports in Puerto Rico. There was no electricity to get the gas to fill the trucks, no roads clear to move the trucks, no people to be able get into the trucks to get to the ports in Puerto Rico. I just want to smack him.— Thoughts Of Truth ⤴️ (@True_Thoughts) April 2, 2019
Open racism is now the @GOP platform.— Jonnysb (@Jonnysbc) April 2, 2019
Hogan Gidley revealed today that Trumpism is just the same as don’t-know-shit-about-shit Palinism but with more racism and sneering cruelty.— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) April 2, 2019
Hogan Gidley referring to Puerto Rico as "that country" speaks VOLUMES! Puerto Ricans are United States citizens!pic.twitter.com/EnGILZqEBJ— MVP (@The305MVP) April 2, 2019
Why should an Arkansas boy who grew up in Arkansas, went to Ol'Miss, and worked for Mike Huckabee know the difference? I wonder if he has ever been north of DC? Better question: how did Hogan Gidley become a "White House spokesperson?" https://t.co/35W0kuI0Ms— You don't run for second place. (@GilmoreGlenda) April 2, 2019
Puerto Rico must be one of those three Mexican countries Fox News was talking about.— Michael Weiss (@RotationlSymtry) April 2, 2019