President Trump on Friday mentioned meeting “the president of the Virgin Islands” while America’s hurricane recovery efforts.
“We also stand with the millions of people who have suffered from the massive fires that are now raging in California and the catastrophic hurricanes along the Gulf Coast in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands,” he said at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C.
“And I will tell you, I left Texas and I left Florida and I left Louisiana and I went to Puerto Rico and I met with the president of the Virgin Islands,” Trump added.
“These are people that are incredible people. They’ve suffered greatly. And we’ll be there. We’re going to be there.”
Trump could not have spoken to a “president of the Virgin Islands” as the U.S. Virgin Islands are an American territory whose residents are citizens under his presidency.
The president may have been referencing Kenneth Map, the governor the U.S. Virgin Islands, with whom he met last October.
“I would not want to in any way involve the governor of the Virgin Islands in any national dispute in the media about what the president knows about the relationship between the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Sam Topp, Mapp’s deputy communications director, told Newsweek Friday.
“It doesn’t serve our purpose to participate in the national hoopla over whether Donald Trump is making competent comments or not,” he added.
“Just look at the documents that govern the relationship [between the U.S. and the U.S. Virgin Islands], and you can determine how relevant or irrelevant, or advised or ill-advised, his comments were. There’s no president of the United States other than the president of the United States.”
Trump’s administration is grappling with criticism of its handling of Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
Critics say the federal government has acted too slowly with assisting Puerto Rico after the storm’s landfall last month despite its status as a U.S. territory.