While a guest on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House on Monday afternoon, New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hammered President Donald Trump as “unhinged” and “fragile” and said his response to the devastation created by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September is “very racist in nature.”
Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time the Puerto Rican native has sharply criticized the president and disparaged the relief efforts that have been underway over the past two months.
Deadline host Nicolle Wallace began the interview by asking Mark-Viverito: “Do you think that the island has paid a price for sort of the intensely political nature of the fight that president had with the mayor of San Juan in the days after the disaster hit?”
Wallace was referring to Trump’s clash with Carmen Yulin Cruz, top official of that nation’s capital city, who responded angrily to a statement by the president claiming the people of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, members of the military and other first responders can’t stay and help “forever” and calling her “nasty.”
The question led her guest to reply:
Everything has happened is based on the president’s response, right, that he is a fragile individual. He is very emotional and unhinged, and his response to any sort of criticism is taking it personally.
And then, kind of response in kind, so I think it’s hard for some of these agencies not to kind of be responsive to their leader in that way.
“And so,” she continued, “if he’s not paying attention or if he’s being vindictive, the ones that suffer are the people on the ground, and that’s very unfortunate.”
“I think also there’s the racist element here,” the New York City official added. “There are policies being put in place which have Puerto Rico being treated very different than what other states have been treated.”
“And that is, I think, also in line with the view he has of us as a people, and it’s very racist in nature, and his policies are following that lead,” she stated.
Back on October 13, Mark-Viverito told CNN's New Day co-host Chris Cuomo that Trump’s attitude had “racist undertones” and stated her trip to view the devastation led her to conclude his response was “outrageous, what I would call benign neglect.”
“There’s a level of disinterest, it seems, to really deal in a focused way with this issue,” she added.
Mark-Viverito said she felt the responders didn’t have enough resources to do their job and claimed that the federal response to Maria was less than it was in Texas and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively.
The Democrat also called many of the 45 Maria-related deaths in Puerto Rico “preventable” and criticized the lack of electricity for more than 80 percent of the population.
"I've been saying that the message from the president yesterday in his tweets was sadistic," she said. "You have a people in crisis, and you're saying you're going to turn your back on them. It's ridiculous.”
"These are apologists for an administration that is reckless and irresponsible," she said. "When it comes to the people of Puerto Rico, we have to be very clear that we are being treated like second-class citizens despite the fact that we've had U.S. citizenship for 100 years."
Mark-Viverito also noted that the United States invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War in 1898, eventually acquiring it from Spain, and "with that invasion comes responsibilities."
Perhaps most startling is the fact that the city council speaker was arrested while participating in a protest at Trump Tower on September 19 in defense of undocumented immigrants whose families brought them to the United States as minors.
She was taken into custody after sitting down in the middle of 5th Avenue and 57th Street shortly after 12 noon -- an act of civil disobedience against President Trump’s recent move to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation enacted during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
The policy was established in June of 2012 and rescinded in September of 2017.
As NewsBusters previously reported, the speaker stated in mid-September that the statue of Christopher Columbus should be “airbrushed from the city” because of “[the] oppression and everything that he brought with him.”
The fact that Mark-Viverito is a fairly regular guest on the MSNBC and CNN cable channels probably says more about them than it does about her. As long as they continue to provide a platform for her to slam Trump and his administration, she’ll likely continue making her complaints heard by as many people as possible.
(h/t: Daily Caller)