The Trump Administration has faced steep criticism over its lackluster response to Puerto Rico being impacted by the massive Hurricane Maria, with that criticism becoming even more well placed when on Thursday, Trump implied in a tweet that he is thinking about pulling federal support out of Puerto Rico. He has repeatedly, since the storm, disparaged the island territory, asserting at one point that they “want everything done for them.”
Now, laying bare just exactly what we are dealing with here, Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry — who has in the past been noted for his incompetence — made a terrible mistake while testifying before a Congressional committee about the ongoing recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Instead of correctly identifying the island as a territory of the United States, he called it a country.
Speaking with Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor at a Thursday House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Perry, speaking of Puerto Rico’s effectively completely downed electrical grid, commented:
‘Congresswoman Castor, you have just pointed out the real challenge that this country faces in dealing with the territory and the citizens of Puerto Rico. That is a country that already had its challenges before this storm…’
At that point, Rep. Castor cut Perry off to remind him that the people of Puerto Rico are not foreigners, but rather, they are citizens of the United States.
‘Well, they’re — it’s America. They’re American citizens, so it’s not a country.’
As Perry bitterly noted in his reply back to Castor, he had indeed correctly identified the island as a territory just a short time before, but in that moment, he slipped up.
It’s not comforting for our nation to be being led by individuals who have to make sure that they have their morning coffee in order to get basic geography right.
As mentioned, Perry is somewhat known for his governmental incompetence. One of his most famous slip-ups on the national stage came back in 2012 when, while running for president, he couldn’t remember the name of the Department of Energy during a debate. The question was posed to him in the context of what departments he had said he would eliminate should he become president.
Watch video of Perry and Rep. Castor’s exchange below. While this nonsense goes on in Washington, the people of Puerto Rico are still being forced to literally beg for help.
“Well, it’s America. They’re American citizens, so it’s not a country”
Rick Perry is corrected after calling Puerto Rico a “country”: pic.twitter.com/p7N2NEgDwq
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 12, 2017
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video