Does Nancy Pelosi know Puerto Rico is part of the United States? You decide

Does House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., know that Puerto Rico is actually part of the United States?  That’s the question being asked after she thanked Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., for leaving the island and coming to America.

“You were born and raised there and came to America to be a stark figure here–you became one of the first women to chair an entire committee in the Congress of the United States,” Pelosi said, according to a report at the Daily Caller.

Amber Athey reported:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had a gaffe on the House floor Thursday when she said that a Puerto Rico native “came to America” after being born on the island.

House Democrats met to discuss the ongoing Puerto Rico crisis caused Hurricane Maria, and Pelosi contradicted herself when it was her turn to speak.

Taking the podium just after New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who is Puerto Rican, Pelosi asserted, “thank you to your commitment to our entire country and that includes Puerto Rico.”

Pelosi then claimed that Velazquez “came to America” when she moved from Puerto Rico to New York.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Pelosi’s official website.  It seems the House Minority Leader’s team decided to edit her gaffe when it posted the transcript of her statement.  It now reads (Emphasis added):

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Congresswoman [Nydia] Velázquez for bringing us together this morning.  Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the people of our entire country and that includes Puerto Rico.

Thank you for sharing the grief of your family.  You were born and raised there and came to [the mainland] to be a historic figure here, one of the few women in Congressional history to chair a full committee of the Congress of the United States.

You share that proud heritage with [Congressman] Luis Gutiérrez, whose family is from Puerto Rico, as well as from [Congressman] José Serrano and [Congressman] Mr. [Darren] Soto, he’s half Italian.  But nonetheless, they are serious messengers to us on the challenges facing the people of Puerto Rico now.

Notice, if you will that her original comment was edited to read “the mainland” instead of “America.”  Are they trying to hide something?

She added:

We can’t make them whole right this minute, but we can give them hope immediately and that is what we must do.  We want the people of Puerto Rico to know that their plight challenges the conscience of our country, challenges our conscience, and we must meet that challenge.  So that would take the form, that would take the form of doctors, helicopters, heavy trucks, water, food, generators, temporary housing, medical supplies, that were needed yesterday.  We must move more quickly.

To the people in the Virgin Islands, we share your concerns equally, and again, we want to give you hope as we try to make you whole.  Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands need resources, they need our focus, and they need the full commitment of this Congress and this Administration now and into the future.

Of course, these things are already being done by the administration.  A post at Redstate notes:

As it turns out, the U.S. is doing a quite a lot to help Puerto Rico and the USVI in their rescue, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. A spokeswoman for FEMA told RedState that they are working closely with other federal agencies to coordinate the response with Governor Mapp of the USVI and Governor Rossello of Puerto Rico. “Hurricane Maria had devastating effects on the islands, seriously impacting communications, power and logistical access. While significant progress is being made, there is still a long way to go. As access to ports, airfields, and roads continues to become available, additional resources will continue to flow into hard hit areas.”

Doug Domenech, newly confirmed Assistant United States Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, communicates regularly with the governors of both territories. Interior has many employees living on the islands, they oversee national parks there, plus they are the primary interface between the Federal government and the territories. While the department does not provide emergency services, Domenech told RedState that he has been involved in the government’s response, and that “there are tons and tons commodities that are being teed up — being sent or already have been sent.”

“The limiting factor,” said Domenech,”is the sheer logistics problem of moving lots of material anywhere. You can’t really send planes unless you know there’s fuel there to send it back.” Additionally, planes can only be flown in during the day because control towers don’t have power. And when relief planes get there, there isn’t anyone to help unload the supplies.

Ships aren’t faring much better, with many ports being destroyed or unreachable because small ships and boats have sunk, making the waters around them difficult to navigate.

And, Fox News added:

Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, told Fox News’ “Special Report” the impression of a slow response isn’t so much wrong as it is outdated. He said more than 40 of the island’s 69 hospitals were now accepting patients.

“Old reporting or old b-roll footage running from earlier today tends to give a bad impression. It wasn’t wrong at the time it was recorded. It just ends up being dated and inaccurate, so that’s the challenge for all of us,” Bossert told Bret Baier.

“The electric power grid in Puerto Rico is totally shot. Large numbers of generators are now on Island. Food and water on site,” Trump tweeted early in the day.

But in many cases “on site” meant stored on pallets and in containers in sea- and airports far from the towns where Puerto Ricans desperately lined up for fresh water and pre-made meals being distributed by federal officials.

Of course, one can be excused for not knowing this because the impression given by many in the so-called “mainstream media” has been quite different.

As RedState correctly notes, the recovery effort there and in the U.S. Virgin Islands will no doubt take years.  One can keep track of the progress at the official FEMA site, here.


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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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