Puerto Rico Mayor Criticizes Trump for Mediocre Disaster Response

02 October 2017, 12:14 | Andres Norman

President Donald Trump is criticizing the media and citing praise for the federal response to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

On Friday, Carmen Yulin Cruz told a news conference she was "done being politically correct" because her people were dying in the aftermath of Maria, the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in almost 90 years.

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello praised the Trump administration and the hurricane recovery efforts at a press briefing in San Juan on Sunday, while reflecting at length about systemic inequalities that hurt the USA territory. "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", he added.

President Donald Trump on Sunday scoffed at "politically motivated ingrates" who had questioned his administration's commitment to rebuilding Puerto Rico after a pulverizing hurricane and said the federal government had done "a great job with the nearly impossible situation".

Mr Trump has pledged to spare no effort to help the United States territory recover in the aftermath of the hurricane, and also tweeted that military personnel and first responders had done "an unbelievable job" despite having "no electric, roads, phones etc".

Trump also lashed out at comments made by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz at a press conference on Friday.

Thousands more Puerto Ricans have received water and rationed food as an aid bottleneck has begun to ease.

"I don't know what world Trump is living in", he said. But on Wednesday, an army veteran told NPR that Puerto Rico needs 50,000.

"Most of our nursing homes have people that have an inability to move, so they're stuck in the 14th floor, they have no water, they have no food, they - majority are insulin-dependent", she said.

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"I will continue to do whatever I need to do, say whatever I need to say, compliment the people I need to compliment, and call out the people that I need to call out", she added.

The Trump administration will waive federal restrictions on foreign ships' transportation of cargo to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. In a briefing Saturday he pointed to efforts by Fema (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to deliver fuel across the island, particularly to hospitals.

The President is spending the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

After Trump's tweets, Cruz said on MSNBC she wasn't "saying anything nasty" about him.

"Foreign flag ships are typically not allowed in to deliver these products unless US carriers can't do it, and the administration's view was they got all the commodities in to Puerto Rico, they didn't need to waive the Jones Act. Someone will say, 'Right this way, sir.' They'll clear a path", Miranda tweeted.

Trump, in a tweet earlier this week, first linked the expense of the recovery effort with Puerto Rico's inability to repay more than $70 billion in debt owed to Wall Street.

Cruz responded by saying she would do whatever she had to do to save lives on the island. Ricardo Rosello said only 40 percent of people in Puerto Rico had potable water.

Across the island, people were continuing to wait for concrete signs of federal and local collaboration - for food, for potable water, for gas, for anything.

Trump is planning to visit the USA territory on Tuesday.



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