White House spokesman Hogan Gidley twice referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” during a television appearance Tuesday on MSNBC in which he doubled down on President Trump’s false claim that the hurricane-ravaged U.S. territory had already received “91 Billion Dollars” in federal disaster relief aid.
According to The Washington Post, the $91 billion dollar figure only “reflects a high-end, long-term estimate for recovery costs. Only a fraction of that has so far been budgeted, and even less has been spent.”
Gidley falsely claimed that the U.S. territory, whose residents are U.S. citizens, had received more disaster relief aid than any other state or territory and sought to make the case that leaders of the island have mishandled the aid they’ve received thus far.
“That’s not true,” said MSNBC host Hallie Jackson. “Louisiana got more after that hurricane, that’s not a true fact.”
“They have not come to $91 billion with all we’ve done in that country,” Gidley said. “They have had systematic mismanagement of the goods and services we sent to them. You’ve seen food rotting in the ports and their governor has done a horrible job. He is trying to find someone to take the blame off of him for not having a good grid and not having a good system in that country at all.”
“These are things that are not true,” said Jackson. “Just from a factual basis, because Hurricane Katrina, the recovery effort cost more than what is happening in Puerto Rico. Let’s lay the facts out here.”
Jackson then pressed Gidley to say whether or not the president believed Puerto Ricans were Americans.
“The president said Puerto Ricans are taking from the U.S.A.,” Jackson said. “Puerto Rico is part of the United States, people who live in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens. You’re rolling your eyes, and I don’t know why you’re rolling your eyes.”