Last month, Hurricane Maria moved through the Caribbean sea, causing devastating destruction to the islands along its path. One of the islands most affected by the hurricane’s wrath was U.S. territory Puerto Rico. And during an event celebrating Hispanic Heritage month this week, Donald Trump spoke about the devastation in PR — but not before he had a little (totally inappropriate) fun.
In his speech, the president of the United States used an exaggerated Spanish accent to pronounce “Puerto Rico.” For real. Not joking.
“We are also praying for the people of Puerto Rico,” he said, using his own
racist unique version of the Spanish accent. Trump imitated the accent not once, not twice, but three times, telling the crowd, “We love Puerto Rico,” before ending sans accent with: “And we also love Puerto Rico.”
It’s a little tricky to explain, but watch the clip for yourself.
Trump’s offensive faux-Spanish accent got him a laugh from the crowd of Hispanic leaders gathered at the event. (Because what else do you do when the leader of the most powerful country cracks a terrible joke?) But the internet responded a little differently.
Many thought the imitation was an insensitive jab at Puerto Rico and Hispanic culture, with some calling his pronunciation a sign of “prejudice,” as well as “insensitive” and “mocking.”
Recently, Trump has been the subject of much criticism for his slow response to the relief effort in Puerto Rico. After Maria’s passing, the island was thrust into a humanitarian crisis, with a still-rising death toll, and many residents without food, electricity, gas, or clean water. It took Trump nearly two weeks to visit the island, and during his visit, he inspired an angry storm of tweets when he tossed paper towels at the Latinx people who’d just lost everything.
The president also faced backlash after he tweeted attacks on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz’s leadership.
But despite what’s happening in the world of politics, the people of Puerto Rico are still very much in need of lifesaving supplies. Former presidents, many celebrities, and non-profit organizations have been raising money for PR, and you can help too by donating to the Hispanic Federation, or finding local charities or drives in your area.
Every little bit helps.