President Donald Trump slammed the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital city for “poor leadership” a day after the mayor criticized a Trump administration official’s positive assessment of the situation in the hurricane-ravaged U.S. territory.
Trump also suggested politics lay at the heart of the critical comments by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, claiming that she has “been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.”
He suggested officials or people on the island — it is not clear exactly who the president is referring to — are not doing enough themselves to recover from the crisis left by Hurricane Maria, saying “they want everything to be done for them.”
Trump praised military and first responders for the relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
The president’s criticism of the San Juan mayor drew a strong response from some on Twitter, including from famed “Hamilton” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Addressing Trump directly, Miranda said Cruz “has been working 24/7” while “you have been golfing.”
Trump sent his tweets Saturday from his golf club in New Jersey.
Trump’s ripping into the San Juan mayor today comes after her widely-publicized criticism Friday of the president’s Homeland Security chief earlier this week referring to the relief efforts on Puerto Rico as “a good news story,” with roads getting cleared and most of the island now accessible.
Elaine Duke, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary, later said that while she is “proud” of the federal response to the destruction on the island, the situation on the ground is still “not satisfactory.”
Duke’s remarks Friday afternoon came after San Juan’s mayor blasted her earlier comments. “This is not a good news story. This is a people-are-dying story,” Mayor Cruz said in an interview on CNN on Friday morning..
“Maybe from where she’s standing, it’s a good news story. When you are drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story,” Cruz said. “I’m sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me.”
The mayor also said she had a “message” for Trump, asking him to “step up” relief efforts for the “entire island of Puerto Rico,” not just the capital of San Juan.
“This is a message for President Trump: Thank you for calling San Juan yesterday and listening for our mayday call. There are 77 other towns that are waiting anxiously and will be very grateful to you and to the American people if you continue to step up to the moral imperative that you have taken on all over the world to help those in need. So help us,” Cruz said.
Trump on Saturday morning also criticized the media, claiming that the “Fake News Networks” are disparaging the relief work of soldiers and first responders on the island.