SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — During a radio interview, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said he’s “extremely grateful” for the help that the Trump administration has provided to his people as they try to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. However, Mr. Rossello also voiced some concerns that the kind of help Trump is offering now may not provide much relief to the residents of Puerto Rico, who are all U.S. citizens. Governor Rossello also addressed some of the criticism Trump has laced the relief efforts with, going so far as to tweet this week that relief workers can’t stay in Puerto Rico forever.
“It was very bizarre to hear the President of the United States telling American citizens, people who are his boss, more or less, that basically there was a time and money limit on the help we’d receive,” Governor Rossello said, “because I’m not sure if Mississippi would have any such limits if a hurricane wiped out the majority of their mobile home parks and Waffle Houses.”
Rossello said that what is concerning him more than the president’s seeming indifference to truly rebuilding Puerto Rico is the fact that Trump doesn’t even seem to be paying much attention to them now. He fears that “Trump’s apathy is worse than his scorn.” And he’s not entirely sure that Trump’s focus will ever return to his island or his people.
“He’s more fired up about making people say Merry Christmas than he is about finding ways to help us rebuild our obliterated lives,” Rossello said, “which is not to say we’re all looking for the government to run and fix everything for us. We just need help, but I’m not sure that we can eat Merry Christmas, and I don’t think anyone saying Happy Holidays will do anywhere near the same damage as the hurricane.”
Governor Rossello said he and his staff had investigated the possibility of using Trump’s blustery rhetoric at the Value Voters Summit to power the island, but they found it was mostly just a lot of hot air, useless for any purpose other than to make people mad about things they may not actually care about.
“I don’t really know that many people who get really super duper angry about whether someone says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays,” Rossello said, “but I know a lot of people on this island who need homes. I can’t see using Merry Christmas shelter, myself.”
Republican National Committee Deputy Spokesman Bo McGriff responded to Rossello’s interview and called it a “disgrace.”
“It’s just a real disgrace that this guy would go on the radio and say these things about our perfect president,” McGriff said, “and maybe he should try saying Merry Christmas more, and see how that helps his people. How does he know they can’t eat Merry Christmas until he tries, that’s all I’m saying.”