Elaine Duke, who’s former acting secretary of homeland security, said that Trump handled the situation of a devastated Puerto Rico as every businessman would and inquired about the option of “divesting” or “selling” the U.S. territory as it struggled in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane hit.
“The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman. Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island … or divest of that asset?” Duke said.
Mr. Trump railed against Puerto Rican officials then over the amount of money needed to rebuild after Hurricane Maria attacked and claimed that the island had thrown the United State budget “out of whack.”
Trump’s administration was criticized for its slow and inadequate response after the attack which claimed about 3,000 lives in the process. Trump called San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz “nasty” after she slammed his government’s weak response.
Another hurricane, Dorian, struck the island once again two years later, Mr. Trump complained in a tweet, where he railed at Puerto Rican politicians for being ungrateful. And Duke confirmed that the Puerto Rico divestment matter never came up as a serious matter after the president asked that question.
In 2019, Mr. Trump said that he mulled a “large” American “real estate deal” to purchase the autonomous Danish territory of Greenland, home to 56,000 people. Denmark might be up for it, he argued, because it’s “losing almost $700 million a year carrying” Greenland.
Duke, a life-long Republican, also criticized Trump’s embrace of “hate-filled, angry and divisive” language. She said Trump’s paranoia about an imagined “deep state” blocked him from seeking valuable counsel from a variety of experts in the government system.