U.S. president says islanders ‘want everything done for them’ in tweets drawing public ire
U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday attacked a Puerto Rican mayor over her “poor leadership ability” after she criticized the pace of relief efforts in the wake of devastating Hurricane Maria.
Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of the territory’s capital city San Juan, has repeatedly called on federal authorities to do more to get vital supplies to residents, many of whom are still without power and running water since the storm delivered a body-blow to the island earlier this month.
Trump lashed out in a series of morning tweets, while also suggesting that Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them” and had left the bulk of relief work to federal first responders and the military. “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” he wrote. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
Speaking at a news conference on Friday, an emotional Cruz appeared to take issue to a series of oddly upbeat comments made by Trump administration officials. “We are dying here, and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island,” she said, adding: “[If] we don’t get the food and water into people’s hands, we are going to see something close to a genocide. I respectfully disagree with President Trump and I am sure that he is not getting the data that we are seeing in the streets.”
Trump’s latest missive could further inflame sentiment after he had earlier weighed in on the emerging fight over how to finance the already debt-stricken territory’s recovery—comments that were viewed as premature and distasteful by some.
The president plans to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday.