NYT Claims Trump Suggested Sale of Puerto Rico in 2017, Ends up With Egg on Its Face

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP featured image
President Donald Trump hands out canned goods and other supplies at Calvary Chapel, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Trump is in Puerto Rico to survey hurricane damage. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


In the ongoing attempt to tarnish President Trump’s first term as the November general election grows ever nearer, the mainstream media has trotted out a parade of former administration officials with “shocking” revelations about the inner workings of the White House — seemingly once a week. Whether it’s former Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, any of the Russiagate cabal members, or former national security advisor and ambassador John Bolton, the Never Trumpers and leftists willingly lap it up.

Here’s just the latest one: on Friday the New York Times published an interview with Elaine Duke, who served as the former acting secretary of Homeland Security for four months in 2017, after John Kelly moved over to White House chief of staff but before Kirstjen Nielsen was confirmed to replace him. And as the Times reporter makes sure to tell readers, Duke is a “lifelong Republican” and “veteran of nearly 30 years at the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense.” You don’t say.

During her tenure in the role, Puerto Rico, then later, the states of Texas and Florida, was pummeled by Hurricane Maria on September 20. And it’s worth remembering it had just taken punishment from Hurricane Irma, which killed three people, collapsed buildings, and knocked out power and the water supply on the island for several days in early September, according to the National Weather Service.


Duke had a problem with the president’s “hard talk” about Puerto Rico and towards its leaders — though, the people themselves didn’t seem to care for their leaders, including building a “guillotine” in front of the Governor’s mansion, as RedState reported. And at least one, San Juan’s mayor, was charged with corruption later on.

The former cabinet official then dropped this supposed bombshell:

She said she was especially taken aback, during the response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico, when she heard Mr. Trump raise the possibility of “divesting” or “selling” the island as it struggled to recover.

“The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know,” she recalled. “Can we outsource the electricity? Can we can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?”

But what the NY Times and others choose to leave out in their outraged headlines is the very next sentence:

(She said the idea of selling Puerto Rico was never seriously considered or discussed after Mr. Trump raised it.)

What’s that? It was never seriously considered or discussed. So, it’s just another nontroversy for the pundits and Trump haters to rail about. And as RedState readers might remember, the media didn’t let go of criticisms of how the Trump administration handled Puerto Rico’s recovery — even a year later – whether it was from then-congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who repeated the unverified claim that 3,000 Puerto Ricans had died and called out the U.S. for its “position of colonial rule over the Caribbean island,” as my colleague Alex Parker wrote. But Republicans pushed back at the death toll and other media creations, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).


Pres. Trump wasn’t the only administration official Duke tries to smear in the piece, though, and it, ironically, has to make you wonder about her credibility. As any good lawyer knows, if your defense witness isn’t believable, you have a huge problem. Here’s how the NYT put it:

She said that as Hurricane Maria approached Puerto Rico and Ms. Duke argued for an emergency declaration before its landfall, Mick Mulvaney, then the president’s budget director, resisted.

“Quit being so emotional, Elaine, it’s not about the people, it’s about the money,” she said Mr. Mulvaney told her.

But Mulvaney told the publication it never happened.

Asked about the comment, Mr. Mulvaney said on Friday: “I never made such a remark. My experience with the acting director was that she rarely got anything right at D.H.S. At least she’s consistent.”

The article goes on to note – somewhat offhandedly – Duke was also intimately involved in the Trump administration’s plan to get rid of President Obama’s DACA executive order. But it may be the most unintentionally revealing parts of the interview, showing the underhanded way these self-appointed bureaucrats who’ve hung around the Swamp too long try to run things the way they want — instead of what the executive branch directs them to do:


She said the president and Mr. Miller were right about lax immigration laws that needed to be fixed, but she said the policy of separating families along the border — which her successor approved months after she left — was discussed, and rejected, while she was acting secretary.

“I think that we have the room to help people,” she said. “And one of the ways we have the room to help people is through our immigration system.”

Take a look at this revelation about how Duke sabotaged the administration’s case before the Supreme Court, a decision which the high court just handed down. It should raise eyebrows: [emphasis mine]

Ms. Duke’s most lasting legacy is likely to be the memo she signed — under pressure — to end that program. Her decision not to cite any specific policy reasons was at the heart of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which said the Trump administration had failed to substantively consider the implications of terminating the program’s protections and benefits.

Ms. Duke said she did not include policy reasons in the memo because she did not agree with the ideas being pushed by Mr. Miller and Mr. Sessions: that DACA amounted to an undeserved amnesty and that it would encourage new waves of illegal immigration.

No wonder she was told to take a hike after just a handful of months. If you don’t support the president you serve, you shouldn’t continue to serve that president. Period.

And as far as the NY Times is concerned, they more than deserve the egg on their face from this laughable story meant to hurt Pres. Trump.


H/T The Hill



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