'What a blowhard': Trump slammed as memoir reveals how former prez 'floored' Puerto Rico’s ex-gov Ricardo Rossello with nuclear strike talk

'What a blowhard': Trump slammed as memoir reveals how former prez 'floored' Puerto Rico’s ex-gov Ricardo Rossello with nuclear strike talk
In a forthcoming memoir, former Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello revealed a startling conversation he had with then-President Donald Trump in 2017 (Getty Images, World Travel & Tourism Council)

WASHINGTON, DC: In a forthcoming memoir, former Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello reveals a startling conversation with then-President Donald Trump during a tour of the storm-ravaged island following Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The Category 5 hurricane, which claimed thousands of lives and devastated Puerto Rico's infrastructure, set the stage for a series of controversial remarks from Trump, the most alarming of which involved the prospect of nuclear warfare.

Shocking remarks on nuclear war

In an excerpt from 'The Reformer’s Dilemma' obtained by The Hill, Rossello recounts an unsettling exchange with Trump during a helicopter tour of the island's damage. Trump’s remarks about nature and nuclear warfare left Rossello profoundly disturbed.

“‘Nature has a way of coming back', Trump said. 'Well, it does until it does not. Who knows with nuclear warfare what will happen…,’” Rossello wrote.

“And then, he said the one thing that made me more concerned than anything else in the entire visit. ‘But I tell you what…’ He paused for effect. ‘If 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?” Rossello added.

STERLING, VIRGINIA - MAY 27: Former US President Donald Trump looks on from the 18th green during day two of the LIV Golf Invitational - DC at Trump National Golf Club on May 27, 2023 in Sterling, Virginia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
In recent years, Donald Trump has warned of the potential for nuclear conflict, particularly in the context of the war in Ukraine (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Trump's comments struck a chord given the prevailing concerns during his presidency about his approach to nuclear weapons. His aggressive rhetoric towards North Korea, including a 2018 tweet boasting about his “much bigger & more powerful” nuclear button compared to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's, had already alarmed lawmakers and activists worldwide.

In recent years, Trump has warned of the potential for nuclear conflict, particularly in the context of the war in Ukraine. He has suggested that the ongoing conflict could escalate into World War III.

Donald Trump's campaign's defense and 2017 visit controversy

In response to Rossello’s memoir, the Trump campaign issued a statement defending the former president’s record on foreign policy. Campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung noted Trump’s aversion to nuclear war and his diplomatic efforts with North Korea.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, the world was safer and more peaceful than any time in decades. President Trump abhors the idea of nuclear war,” Cheung said in a statement to The Hill. “That’s why his historic diplomacy with North Korea stopped the regime’s nuclear tests and long-range missile launches, which resumed after Biden took office."

“President Trump negotiated historic UN Security Council sanctions on Iran that left the regime weak and broke—until Biden enriched them,” he continued. “And it’s Joe Biden who is leading the world to the precipice of World War 3. President Trump’s top priority will be the safety and security of the American People. He is determined to return the world to peace.”

Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico in 2017 was marked by controversy beyond his nuclear remarks. One of the most memorable moments of Trump’s visit was his act of tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd.



 

Rossello addresses this incident in his memoir, condemning it as “dumb and incredibly thoughtless” while also suggesting the media narrative surrounding the incident was overblown.

“The image plastered in history was one that demonstrates disdain and repulsion for the people,” Rossello 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.”

That said, Rossello resigned in 2019 amid mass protests.

Donald Trump slammed on social media

Following the revelations from Rossello’s book, social media erupted with criticism of Trump. Many condemned his casual reference to nuclear warfare amid the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

"Trump is a warmonger," one posted on X.

"The bully wants to use the ultimate weapon…results don’t matter to him," another alleged.

"Nightmare movie becomes reality," a comment read.

"Of course. Trump then would brag about the 'tremendous' number of people killed, 'no one has seen numbers like this, a record number,'" someone else quipped.

"What a Blowhard! He brings up nuclear war when Puerto Rico looked like and felt like it had just experienced…. Wait for it… a nuclear war," another fumed.



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

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