Miles Taylor, Homeland Security Department chief of staff under Kirstjen Nielsen — President Trump’s last Senate-confirmed DHS secretary — announced Monday that he is voting for Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, explaining he had seen Trump do “terrifying” things in his two and a half years working in his administration. And his feelings about Trump’s unfitness for office weren’t unique, Taylor told MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson on Wednesday. “In fact, I would be willing to go as far as to say I can think of very few people that I served with in the Trump administration that don’t feel the same way about the president as I do.”
When Jackson brought up Trump’s family separation policy, Taylor said he had always been against it, and though it “was appropriately halted, I think what’s more alarming is that every single month after we halted that policy, the president would tell us he wanted to restart it, and not only restart it, he wanted to expand it and actually go further, and deliberately rip children from their parents as a means to deter people from coming to the border. That’s inhumane and it’s un-American.”
Jackson asked Taylor to name the most “disturbing” thing he recalls Trump advocating. “We could probably go on for days about that,” he said. “The president’s talked before about wanting to purchase Greenland, but one time before we went down [to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria], he told us not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico. Could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland? Because in his words, Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor. These are Americans, Hallie, and we don’t talk about our fellow Americans that way.”
The New York Times, which first reported this story, said Trump was joking when he suggested swapping Puerto Rico for Greenland. “I did not take it as a joke,” Taylor said, adding that Trump displayed “deep animus toward the Puerto Rican people behind the scenes,” even as they “were recovering from the worst disaster of their lifetimes.”
Trying to trade away Puerto Rico was “beyond galling, but this was a real thing,” Taylor said. “This is the president, this is the man who sits behind the Resolute Desk, and these are the thoughts he has when Americans are in danger and recovering.” Peter Weber
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