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Trump slams mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico over hurricane relief effort

Posted at 7:26 AM, Sep 30, 2017

President Donald Trump launched a Twitter attack Saturday morning on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for "poor leadership ability," saying she and others in Puerto Rico "want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."

"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," the President wrote on Twitter. "... 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."

The President again praised the federal government's response on the island, which is grappling with the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria, saying the 10,000 federal workers there were doing a "fantastic job."



"The military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job," he wrote. "Puerto Rico was totally destroyed."

Yulín Cruz tweeted shortly after Trump, saying that the only goal was "saving lives."

"This is the time to show our 'true colors,'" she wrote. "We cannot be distracted by anything else."

Trump's comments come ahead of a planned visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. After Maria made landfall more than a week ago, the island has been facing a humanitarian crisis as many of its 3.4 million people remain without power and water.

The Trump administration has repeatedly lauded the federal government's response to Maria, despite criticism from some that the administration has not been as engaged in the recovery efforts to this storm as he was for the recent hurricanes that battered Texas and Florida. Some critics have drawn comparisons to the sluggish federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Trump, who is at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, is scheduled to speak with FEMA Administrator Brock Long, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello and other Puerto Rican officials Saturday.

On Thursday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke stirred controversy after she told reporters she was "very satisfied" with the federal response since Maria made landfall, calling it a "good news story."

"I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane," Duke said.

That prompted a sharp retort from San Juan's mayor in a CNN interview.

"This is, damn it, this is not a good news story," Mayor Yulín Cruz said. "This is a 'people are dying' story. This is a 'life-or-death' story. This is, 'there's a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people' story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen."

In his Saturday morning tweets, Trump also lashed out at the media for what he said was biased coverage, saying that the "Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico."

"Fake News CNN and NBC are going out of their way to disparage our great First Responders as a way to 'get Trump,'" he tweeted. "Not fair to FR or effort!"