After a devastating direct hit from Hurricane Maria last week that left 100% of their island without electricity, along with serious shortages of food and clean water, Puerto Ricans are desperate for relief.
But when Gov. Ricardo Rossello sent word to President Trump that a humanitarian crisis was unfolding, and that Puerto Rico was in critical need of the same aid and supplies as storm damaged states like Texas and Florida, he was shocked at the response:
“The president told me that I should get in touch with the leader of my own country if I wanted help,” said Gov. Rossello. “I don’t think he understood that we are part of the United States, and that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.”
The Caribbean island is, in fact, a U.S. territory and its inhabitants are natural-born American citizens. And while they don’t vote for president, and have only one non-voting seat in Congress, Puerto Ricans are able to travel freely between their island and the United States mainland.
While the White House denied that Mr. Trump was ignorant of the island’s status, or the federal government’s obligation to provide assistance, one Oval Office insider, speaking off the record, said that the president was angry that the U.S. had to come to the aid of yet another hurricane ravaged area, especially one “that doesn’t speak white English.”
“He kept asking John Kelly how it was possible that ‘a whole island of spics could be Americans?’ Kelly told him that Puerto Rico has been a commonwealth of the U.S. since 1898 and the fact that the people there spoke…