Murphy: “The United States has been screwing Puerto Rico for over 100 years and this is just the latest, most disgusting chapter.” (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/BlwGxdJG91
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 25, 2017
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) has been vocally condemnatory of how the federal government has handled its response to Puerto Rico’s devastation in the wake of Hurricane Maria. He hasn’t minced words in other remarks or on Twitter, but he saved his most vivid language for when he today addressed the Senate, decrying the U.S. response to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “The United States has been screwing Puerto Rico for over 100 years,” he told his fellow lawmakers, “and this is just the latest, most disgusting chapter.”
Puerto Rico was initially invaded by the United States as part of the Spanish American war to buoy its presence in the Caribbean (that’s the “big ocean” Trump blamed for aid not arriving in a timely manner), and the U.S. retained sovereignty over the island as a condition of victory over the Spanish, who kept control over Cuba. As a territory, Puerto Rico doesn’t have Congressional representation, and its citizens were unable to elect their own governor until the 1940s. Other aspects of the “swindle” Murphy is referring to include Puerto Rico’s economic woes, which were worsened by U.S. trade and tax policy and mass emigration as jobs dried up.
President Trump has heavily praised the way the U.S. has taken care of the island territory, calling the effort a “10 out of 10” while discussing recovery efforts with the Puerto Rican governor (before he went on a bizarre rant about uranium). However, Trump has also been very insistent that the feds have done their job in the immediate aftermath and now need to move on to other matters.
That’s the attitude Senator Murphy takes umbrage with. He has repeatedly blasted the United States for not giving due respect to the citizens and leadership of its own territory, specifically targeting President Trump’s account of the recovery. Prior to his remarks, the Senator tweeted that the relief package passed by Congress was a good first step that didn’t go far enough. “We have a lot more work to do,” he noted.
Yesterday, Murphy also criticized the announcement that Montana firm Whitefish, which has associations with the Trump administration’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, won a massive multi-million dollar contract to work on Puerto Rico’s power grid. Murphy tweeted that the deal demonstrates how “Maria gives Trump allies new chances to continue the swindle.”