Getting Ready for Trump’s Puerto Rico Shakedown

President Donald Trump waves before speaking about tax reform at the Farm Bureau Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Indianapolis, Ind. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump waves before speaking about tax reform at the Farm Bureau Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This is super important to watch.

In addition to being slow to react to the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Maria and inclined to blame Puerto Rico itself for a lot of the problems, there’s been something specific about his comments. He keeps talking about Puerto Rico’s public debt.

Set aside the irony of someone who has made a career and a fortune out of skipping on his own debts pressing an embattled American territory on its debt obligations. This and other comments about the Puerto Rico crisis make it look very much like Trump plans to use the disaster as a wedge to enforce a massive wave of privatization on the Island. His comments, hints and overall attitude suggest he’s looking at the crisis not as a public emergency on US territory but more like the way a rival business looks at a distressed competitor that needs a rescue, with all the maximization of pressure and advantage that entails. For now, look at the comments collected together here. We’ll be discussing this more. This is a big, big deal, in addition to the obvious and immediate humanitarian crisis which is now unfolding.

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