Omarosa: Trump used 'derogatory' term for Puerto Ricans; Kelly fought hurricane aid

 

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman says in her new book that White House chief of staff John Kelly shut down her attempts to get aid for Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria — and he accused the island government of trying to exploit the tragedy to get money from Washington.

She also writes that Kelly and President Donald Trump "referred to Puerto Ricans with derogatory terms many times." Manigault Newman did not say specifically what those terms were.

Manigault Newman described the administration's response to Puerto Rico — after the hurricane took out its electrical grid, left residents without food, water or housing and killed many — as lethargic and contrasted it with the White House's aid to Florida and Texas when those states were hit by hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

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Claims made in Omarosa Manigault-Newman's book
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Claims made in Omarosa Manigault-Newman's book

In her tell-all book entitled 'Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,' the former White House aide said President Donald Trump is a 'racist' who used the N-word.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

She claimed to walk in on Trump eating a piece of paper in the Oval Office.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar

Omarosa claimed that Melania Trump plans to 'divorce' Trump as soon as his term is over and that she is punishing him with a 'style rebellion' until then.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Omarosa claimed that President Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly used 'derogatory' terms for Puerto Ricans.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

She claimed Trump wanted to be sworn in on 'The Art of the Deal' instead of the Bible at his inauguration.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

She claimed she was offered a $15,000-a-month contract and a job in exchange for her silence by President Trump's daughter-in-law and campaign adviser Lara Trump after her firing. 

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

In one excerpt from the book Omarosa said, 'his mental decline could not be denied,' during an interview Trump did with NBC's Lester Holt in 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

She claimed Trump questioned Harriet Tubman's appearance reportedly saying, 'you want to put that face on the twenty-dollar bill?' 

(REUTERS/Library of Congress/Handout via Reuters)

Omarosa also claimed that Trump and KISS singer Gene Simmons talked about his daughter Ivanka's looks in front of her.

 (REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

According to the book, the president called his son, Donald Trump Jr., a 'f--k up' after he released emails about the Trump Tower meeting.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Omarosa claimed Trump drinks 'eight cans a day' of diet coke and said she thinks it's causing his health to decline. 

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Omarosa also claimed that Trump's nickname for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is 'Ditzy DeVos'.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Omarosa claimed Trump insulted Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway, and his Filipino heritage.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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In a meeting, Kelly blamed the crisis on Puerto Rico's "already screwed up" infrastructure, she wrote in "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," which was released Tuesday. Kelly "suggested the bankrupt government was trying to exploit the hurricane to focus on the United States to foot the bill to rebuild their electrical grid," she continued.

"And God bless (Trump's former homeland security adviser) Tom Bossert, who tried to get the resources, tried to fight. He and I were fighting arm in arm, hand in hand, to try to advocate for Puerto Rico to get what they needed, and John Kelly shut it down," Manigault Newman wrote.

Puerto Rico had been in an economic crisis and its electrical company had gone bankrupt when Hurricane Maria hit on Sept. 20, plunging it into what would be a months-long struggle to restore electricity.

Manigault Newman mocked Trump as she recalled a moment that led to much criticism of the president — when he blithely tossed rolls of paper towels to hurricane victims during his visit to the island. She needled his "cavalier behavior in the face of human tragedy."

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Donald Trump's visit to Puerto Rico
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Donald Trump's visit to Puerto Rico
CAROLINA, PUERTO RICO - OCTOBER 03: President Donald Trump and Melania Trump greet U.S Air Force airmen as he arrives at the Muniz Air National Guard Base as he makes a visit after Hurricane Maria hit the island on October 3, 2017 in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The President has been criticized by some that say the government's response has been inadequate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello (L) as they take their seats for a briefing on hurricane relief efforts in a hangar at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S. October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump visits with residents while visiting Puerto Rico to survey relief efforts following Hurricane Maria in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he walks through a neighborhood damaged by Hurricane Maria with first lady Melania Trump as the president tours hurricane damage in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump talks with residents as first lady Melania Trump (C) and U.S. Rep and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jenniffer Gonzalez (R) look on as the president visits areas damaged by Hurricane Maria in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump greets troops as he arrives aboard Air Force One, to survey hurricane damage, at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S. October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz before a briefing to survey hurricane damage, at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S. October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, sitting between Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello and first lady Melania Trump, sits down to a briefing on hurricane damage, at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S. October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House in Washington, U.S., on their way to view storm damage in Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (L), wearing boots, arrive aboard Air Force One, to survey hurricane damage, at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S. October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit residents affected by Hurricane in Guaynabo, west of San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 3, 2017. Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria thrashed through the US territory, much of the islands remains short of food and without access to power or drinking water. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit residents affected by Hurricane in Guaynabo, west of San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 3, 2017. Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria thrashed through the US territory, much of the islands remains short of food and without access to power or drinking water. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels to a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits a disaster relief distribution center at Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet troops as they depart the USS Kearsarge off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S. October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump talks with local residents during a walking tour of areas damaged by Hurricane Maria in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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"Just like Charlottesville, it was all about him. The devastated people loved him! He was unfairly persecuted by the media … His total lack of empathy is bad enough, but I believe many of the problems and delays with getting aid to Puerto Rico were partly political," Manigault Newman wrote.

The hurricane left Puerto Ricans stranded in mountain regions, cut off some residents from other parts of the island because of destroyed bridges and roads cluttered with debris, left many homeless and sent hundreds of thousands of residents to seek refuge in the mainland, joining others who had left the island because of the economic crisis.

Images of pallets of water and shipping containers of supplies sitting at the San Juan airport set off an explosion of anger led by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz who pleaded for help a and described the response as "something close to genocide."

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Puerto Rico's damage from above
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Puerto Rico's damage from above
Buildings damaged by Hurricane Maria are seen in Lares, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Remains of a shed is scattered over a basketball court after Hurricane Maria near Loiza, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The contents of a damaged home can be seen as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Maria near the town of Comerio, Puerto Rico, October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Buildings and trees damaged by the winds of Hurricane Maria are seen near Lares, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A damaged home is seen as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Maria near Orocovis, Puerto Rico, October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A damaged home is seen among blown down trees following Hurricane Maria in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sand is seen along a road after being pushed there by Hurricane Maria near Loiza, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The contents of a damaged home can be seen as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Maria near the town of Comerio, Puerto Rico, October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Buildings damaged by Hurricane Maria are seen in Lares, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Trees damaged by the winds of Hurricane Maria are seen in a valley near Lares, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Plywood is used on buildings to repair damage from Hurricane Maria near Loiza, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Residents fill containers with water from a creek as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Maria near the town of Comerio, Puerto Rico, October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Residents fill containers with water from a creek as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Maria near town of Comerio, Puerto Rico, October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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"The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz was openly critical of the U.S. response," she wrote. "I would not put it past Trump to punish the people of Puerto Rico to teach that woman of color a lesson."

The island still does not know exactly how many people died, but the early toll of 16 deaths was dismissed long ago. Last week, Puerto Rico's government said the death toll could be at 1,400, but a Harvard study has said the toll is more than 4,645.

Many of those deaths were not caused when the hurricane hit but happened because of the interruption of health care, electricity and utility services.

The White House had no immediate comments.

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