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Trump planned to auction Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: 'Can we sell the island?'

Elain Duke, the former acting Homeland Security secretary, has revealed some of the shocking discussions that took place in Trump's White House.

Trump planned to auction Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: 'Can we sell the island?'
Image Source: President Trump Arrives Back At The White House From Visit To Walter Reed Military Medical Center. WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

A former acting Homeland Security secretary has revealed that United States President Donald Trump attempted to treat the unincorporated territory of Puerto Rico as a business when Hurricane Maria first hit it in September 2017. Speaking with The New York Times, Elaine Duke opened up about her shock when she heard the President suggest "divesting" or "selling" the island in order to rid himself of the accountability for the aftermath of one of the worst environmental disasters Puerto Rico has ever experienced. Duke, a lifelong Republican, also stated that she was unsure about voting for another term of President Trump.



Duke is the most recent in a string of officials who have gone on record to reveal some of the terrible things that have taken place in Trump's White House. Though there were several instances that left her surprised, the conversation the President had about Puerto Rico stood out to her. She recalled, "The President’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know? 'Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?'" Of course, the suggestions were never taken seriously after he first uttered them, but the fact that a President could even think to propose such ideas was appalling to her. She said she "was especially taken aback."



Hurricane Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect the islands of Dominica, St. Croix, and Puerto Rico. It is also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Jeanne in 2004; an estimated 2,975 people were killed in Puerto Rico alone. The hurricane caused the worst electrical blackout in United States history—in June 2018, almost a year after the storm hit, thousands of homes and businesses were still without power. The natural disaster crippled the island's economy, destroying, for instance, 18 million coffee trees. Analysts have suggested that it will require about five to 10 years to bring back at least 15 percent of the territory's coffee production.



For Duke, Trump's approach to Puerto Rico was only one of the many problems with his leadership. On one occasion in August 2017, she attended a meeting with the President to discuss Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)⁠, an Obama-era immigration policy that permits some individuals with "unlawful" immigration status to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit. What she expected would be a discussion turned out to be an "ambush." Stephen Miller, the "architect of the President’s assault on immigration," Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and several other White House officials merely demanded that she sign a memo ending the program. Instead of engaging in a dialog about the legislation, they had already decided it was illegal. Though Duke agreed, "she chafed at being cut out of the real decision-making." She affirmed, "The room was stacked."



"What was missing for me is really that process of discussing it," the 30 year-veteran of Homeland Security explained. "It is a grave decision not only from a legal standpoint but from the effect it will have on not just 700,000 people but 700,000 people plus their families." Now, she is unsure about voting for President Trump during the upcoming elections. When asked about whether he would receive her vote, she replied, "That’s a really hard question. But given the choices, I don’t know yet." If proposing to sell a part of the country simply because you don't want to deal with it is not reason enough to not vote for someone, perhaps there is little hope for the future of the United States.


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