Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN on Monday morning that he was glad Democrats had visited the island over the weekend despite the partial federal government shutdown.
CNN’s John Berman asked Rosselló, who is affiliated with the national Democratic Party, about the congressional Democrats’ junket on New Day, marking one of the only times the network — or any mainstream outlet — has covered the trip in less than glowing terms.
As Breitbart News and other outlets have reported, 30 Democrats traveled to Puerto Rico over the weekend on a chartered plane with over 100 lobbyists. Their itinerary included meetings with local officials — as well as parties, a local premiere of Hamilton, and free time on the beach.
The exchange between Berman and Rosselló was as follows:
Berman: You mentioned the hamilton premier in Puerto Rico over the weekend. Some Democratic officials were at that event — I think we have some pictures of it which we can show here. Do you think that the Democrats should have been down there watching a play, instead of working with the president to try to end the shutdown?
Rosselló: Well, they were here also listening for over four hours. They had a hearing. This is the largest congressional delegation in the history of Puerto Rico, and I thank them for coming over here. I had an opportunity to explain to them the root cause of the problems in Puerto Rico. We had a discussion about the [Hurricane Maria] recovery, how some of the recovery’s being stalled because of bureaucratic processes that are imposed in Puerto Rico that are not imposed elsewhere. How we need to start the rebuilding phase to be very effective, and how Puerto Rico can become a model, and how we’re going to implement some of these core concepts that we value, such as tackling inequality, and battling climate change. But it is important underneath all of that, it’s the reality that Puerto Rico, we are treated as second-class U.S. citizens. Because we’re not a state, we — you know, we get a third of the federal funding for healthcare, for example. And it was important for me to state to the over 30 congressional leaders that were here that the main, the root cause of the problem is that we are a colonial territory of the United States and I wanted to ask them to forcefully take this as a battle of their own, as they have with, for example, statehood for Washington, D.C.
CNN anchor Dave Briggs criticized Fox News on Twitter for criticizing the Democrats’ trip on Monday morning without mentioning that the Hamilton show had raised “some $15 million toward Puerto Rican post-hurricane recovery.”
According to the Washington Post, the money is actually headed “to a fund for struggling Puerto Rican artists and arts institutions” that is run by the family of Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.