It’s disgraceful the extent to which the Trump Administration has turned Puerto Rico into a partisan issue.
The official who twice referred to Puerto Rico — an unincorporated territory of the United States — as “that country” did apologize after the fact. If this sort of thing was an isolated incident, it’d be easy enough to leave it at that.
But this is not an isolated incident.
If the Trump administration isn’t referring to Puerto Rico — part of the United States of America — as “that country”, President Trump himself is lying about the aid Puerto Rico has received, or lying about the number of citizens who died as a result of Hurricane Maria, or tossing paper towels, or making ad hominem attacks against Puerto Rican leaders, or entirely refusing to meet with the island’s governor.
This is not leadership.
We know Trump isn’t too busy to take a critical meeting with the Governor of Puerto Rico; it’s well known how much he watches TV. We also know Trump lies more than anyone, so it’s fair to go ahead and ignore most of what he says (This week he lied saying his father was born in Germany. He wasn’t.). It would be wrong, though, for us to ignore the disgusting nature of Trump’s disregard for Puerto Ricans — our fellow citizens.
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in an ongoing project in Puerto Rico for some time now, and I’ve traveled there many times. I’ve come to really love the place and its people. But even if you haven’t been to Puerto Rico, it’s still part of the United States. Even if they speak Spanish, they’re still United States citizens.
History will judge Trump harshly for this and many other failures.