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Donald Trump ‘considered selling Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017’

DONALD Trump considered selling the US territory of Puerto Rico after it was devastated by a hurricane in 2017, reports say.

The President is said to have asked if the US could “divest of that asset”, according to a former senior official.

The Caribbean island has a population of more than three million and is a territory of the US.

But it is not a state and so its residents cannot vote in US presidential or other elections.

In September 2017, the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm with winds of almost 185mph.

That followed another huge storm, Hurricane Irma, that struck just weeks earlier.

Maria killed 2,975 Puerto Ricans and caused $90billion worth of damage.

Seven weeks after the storm hit half the island was still without power, according to the US Office of Coastal Management.


Elaine Duke, who was acting Secretary of Homeland Security during the storm, said Trump raised selling Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the disaster.

She told the New York Times: “The President‘s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know.

“Can we outsource the electricity? Can we can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?”

Ms Duke said after the President raised the idea it was “never seriously considered or discussed”.

Puerto Rico asked the US Government to help fund basic services following the hurricane.

While Washington did pump money into the island, Trump also took aim at the local handling of the crisis.

A month after the hurricane, he accused Puerto Rico of a “total lack of accountability”, and said the island’s electric supply and other infrastructure “was a disaster before hurricanes”.

He threatened to pull federal agencies helping with the aid effort off the island.

Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, said Trump was “incapable of empathy and frankly simply cannot get the job done”.


Just two years later, Trump publicly asked whether the US could buy Greenland.

The world’s largest island, close to the North Pole, is a self-governing territory of Denmark.

Trump said: “Essentially it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done.

“It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they’re losing almost $700million a year carrying it.

“So, they carry it at great loss, and strategically for the United States, it would be nice.

“And, we’re a big ally of Denmark and we help Denmark, and we protect Denmark.”

Danish PM Mette Frederiksen said the request was “an absurd discussion” and Denmark had no intention of handing over control of the island to the US.

Offended, Trump then cancelled an upcoming trip to Denmark and branded the Danish leader “nasty”.

He said: “You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me.

“I thought it was not a nice statement, the way she blew me off.”

US President Donald Trump confirms he wants to buy Greenland but admits it's 'not no1' priority

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