According to The Washington Post, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” on two separate occasions during a televised appearance on Tuesday. He was speaking in order to defend tweets by President Trump criticizing Puerto Rican officials.
In a series of tweets, Trump complained that Puerto Rican politicians were “incompetent or corrupt” He also said that Puerto Rico “got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane.” In actuality, $91 billion is the figure that reflects a high-end and long-term estimate for recovery costs. A fraction of that money has gone to Puerto Rico.
Gidley argued that leading politicians in Puerto Rico have mishandled the aid that they received.
“With all they’ve done in that country, they’ve had a systematic mismanagement of the goods and services we’ve sent to them,” Gidley said. “You’ve seen food just rotting in the ports. Their governor has done a horrible job. He’s trying to make political hay in a political year, and he’s trying to find someone to take the blame off of his for not having a grid and not having a good system in that country at all.”
Gidley later addressed his misstatement, saying it was due to “a slip of the tongue.”
During the interview Gidley also said that Trump supports the people of Puerto Rico.“He gave them a lot of money,” Gidley said. “They have mismanaged and misused that money. It hurts their people. That’s what he’s upset about.”