The clean-up from the recent spate of Atlantic hurricanes continues. But now those humanitarian efforts are being clouded by a new political storm brewing between President Trump and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. In his most recent round of Twitter commentary, Trump implied that American citizens in Puerto Rico are expecting handouts.
Trump’s tweet reads: ‘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.’
“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,” Trump continued, “when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
“The military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job. Puerto Rico was totally destroyed.”
“Actually, I was asking for help. I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the president, but don’t take my word for it,” Cruz told MSNBC.
“General Buchanan, a three-star general, has said as one of the first comments that he has made about the Puerto Rico situation, that he doesn’t have enough troops and he doesn’t have enough equipment of what he needs to get the situation under control.”
Some of Trump’s earliest comments on the hurricane recovery were criticized becasue he seemed to focus on the $73 billion of debt Puerto Rico owes, rather than the humanitarian crisis.
His feud with Cruz seems to be based on contrasting interpretations of the situation on the ground in Puerto Rico. Cruz claims the slow military and government response will cost lives.
As the Daily Mail reports, “White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino Jr tweeted that Cruz was dramatizing the situation in Puerto Rico because she did not like the president before the storm.”
“He screenshotted tweets in Spanish that were critical of the president, writing: ‘San Juan, PR Mayor has been hating on @realDonaldTrump long before he was our President. I’m not surprised by the show she is putting on…”
All of this comes as the President prepares to tour the area for himself.
To make matters worse, DHS Secretary Elaine Duke Duke characterized the whole relief effort as a “good news story.” She said “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.”
“When you’re drinking from a creek,” Cruz responded, “it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from buildings – I’m sorry, that really upsets me and frustrates me.”
“Dammit,” Cruz said, “this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. It’s a life-or-death story.”