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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ex-Gov. Rosselló Nevares describes nuke remarks made by Trump

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Oct. 19, 2017. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

By The Star Staff

When then-President Donald Trump traveled to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria decimated the island in 2017, he remarked to then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares that the United States “won’t be second” in using nuclear weapons, according to The Hill.

The comment was revealed in Rosselló’s upcoming book, “The Reformer’s Dilemma,” which is due to be released on Tuesday. The Hill received an excerpt from the book that described how Rosselló and Trump were in a helicopter surveying damage from the hurricane.

“‘Nature has a way of coming back,’ said the president. ‘Well, it does until it does not. Who knows with nuclear warfare what will happen …,’” Rosselló wrote in the book as quoted by The Hill in a report last week.

“And then, he said the one thing that made me more concerned than anything else in the entire visit,” Rosselló wrote. “‘But I tell you what …’ He paused for effect. ‘If a nuclear war happens, we won’t be second in line pressing the button.’ This statement floored me. I could not believe what I was hearing. It was surreal. Was he really talking about total annihilation as we flew over the ravaged sights of the island?”

Rosselló also discussed the infamous paper towel incident, where Trump threw paper towels to hurricane victims like he was shooting hoops.

“The image plastered in history was one that demonstrates disdain and repulsion for the people,” he wrote. “Was it dumb and incredibly thoughtless? Yes. The president should have known better. But that does not detract from the true story: The media narrative got carried away, which is happening more often than not in our political culture.”

The Hill said the nuclear war story is not surprising, as Trump has said a lot of other worrying things about nuclear weapons. During his 2016 campaign, he reportedly asked one of his foreign policy advisers, “Why have them if we can’t use them?”

According to the publication, “In December 2016, the president-elect said, ‘Let it be an arms race … we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.’ In the summer of 2017, Trump also told military leaders he wanted to increase the nuclear stockpile tenfold, back to the peak levels of the Cold War. He even discussed using nukes against North Korea in 2017. And who can forget his idea to nuke hurricanes to stop them from hitting the United States?”

Trump has also shared nuclear secrets with random people, including an Australian billionaire visiting his Mar-a-Lago club in April 2021, and bragged to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward about “a weapon system that nobody’s ever had in this country before.”

“We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about,” Trump said to Woodward. “We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before.”

Trump is vying to return to the White House.

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