AP NEWS

Hogan Gidley, WH deputy press secretary, refers to Puerto Rico as ‘that country’

April 2, 2019

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley referred to Puerto Rico twice as “that country” while responding to questions about President Trump saying providing aid to the territory was “taking away” from other U.S. states.

“With all we’ve done in that country, they have had a systematic mismanagement of the goods and services we’ve sent to them. You’ve seen food just rotting in the ports. Their governor [Ricardo Rossell] has done a horrible job,” he said in an interview Tuesday with MSNBC’s “MSNBC Live” show.

“He’s trying to make political hay in a political year and he’s trying to find someone to take the blame off of him for not having a grid and not having a good system in that country,” he said.

Gidley said later in the interview calling Puerto Rico “that country” was “a slip of the tongue” and he meant to say “territory.”

Mr. Trump said Tuesday Puerto Rico’s “incompetent” politicians spent money “foolishly or corruptly” after a disaster relief bill failed in the Senate because Democrats wanted more aid given to the island territory.

“Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before, all their local politicians do is complain ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, only take from USA,” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Mr. Rossell said his officials will not be pushed around by the president as they fight for Hurricane Maria disaster relief. He added he wants, “the opportunity to explain to him why the data and information he’s getting is wrong.”

“I don’t think getting into a kicking and screaming match with the president does any good,” he said.