Puerto Rico has been a United States territory for more than a century. Its residents have been U.S. citizens since (and because of) World War I. Nevertheless, the Trump administration’s effort to systemically distance Those People from the rest of the United States continued unabated Tuesday, with a disastrous MSNBC appearance by White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.
Pressed by host Hallie Jackson about President Donald Trump’s early morning tweets claiming Puerto Rico has been given $91 billion in disaster aid following Hurricane Maria (it hasn’t), Gidley actually rolled his eyes and insisted that the administration’s shameful mismanagement of post-hurricane assistance was actually Puerto Rico’s fault.
He went on to lie about the amount of aid actually given to Puerto Rico following Maria, claiming “they have received more money than any state or territory in history,” even after Jackson pointed out that Louisiana had been given more recovery funds after Hurricane Katrina.
And, to round off his appearance, Gidley twice referred to Puerto Rico—which, again, has been a part of the U.S. for over a century— as “that country.”
Gidley later insisted he’d merely made “a slip of the tongue,” which is actually just Trump administration speak for “let the mask slip a little too far.”
Of course, Gidley’s glib rejection of reality makes perfect sense when you couple the Trump administration’s longtime racist othering with the fact that the United States has been failing its own ostensible colony for decades now. Put those together, and it’s easy to see why the president and his ilk have no problem pushing out easily disproven lies and disinformation about American citizens.