A former Department of Homeland Security official says he heard President Trump propose trading Puerto Rico for Greenland—and he doesn't believe the president was joking. In an interview with MSNBC's Hallie Jackson Wednesday, Miles Taylor, former DHS chief of staff, was asked for the "most disturbing idea" he had heard from the president. "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,'" he said. Taylor claimed Trump made the remarks ahead of a 2018 hurricane relief trip to the US territory, weeks after Denmark rebuffed Trump's attempt to buy Greenland. Trump canceled a state visit to Denmark in response.
Taylor told Jackson that he "did not take" the remark "as a joke." He said that behind the scenes, Trump "expressed deep animus" for Puerto Rico's 3.7 million people, who are US citizens. White House spokesman Judd Deere told Business Insider in a statement that Taylor, who left the administration last year and recently endorsed Joe Biden, is "another creature of the DC Swamp who never understood the importance of the President's agenda or why the American people elected him and clearly just wants to cash-in." (Read more President Trump stories.)