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Trump Slams Puerto Rico Mayor Over "Poor Leadership" During Recovery Efforts

Trump Slams Puerto Rico Mayor Over

Perhaps in response to Cruz's impatient retort, Secretary Duke followed a tour of the island with a news conference Friday and said, "Despite working together, I know that the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are suffering".

Trump, who says he will visit the island Tuesday, has been slow to react to pleas, but quick to respond to criticism that he has given Puerto Rico less attention than he gave to Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey and Florida, where he keeps a second weekend home, after Irma.

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz speaks with a man at a hospital Saturday in the Rio Piedras area of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as about 35 patients are evacuated after the failure of an electrical plant.

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. But he warned that the U.S. Congress would need to help rebuild the island. As my colleague Julia Belluz explained, there's a good chance that Duke simply has the facts wrong - and the death toll she relied on to make those comments was outdated. On that front, she ran into winds as fierce as Maria.

"If we don't get the food and the water into people's hands what we are going to see is something close to a genocide", she said. "I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying".

Trump is now at his golf club.

It is estimated that telecommunications has returned to 30% of the island, nearly half the supermarkets have reopened, and more than half of gas stations are back in business.

That leaves tens of thousands of people without access to necessities, most urgently water, long after the September 20 hurricane.

"Fema has been working extra hard on this effort", he said, noting that the number of open gas stations had gone in four days from 450 to 714. He said the government is "fully engaged in the disaster and the response and recovery effort". When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story. "Actually, I was asking for help", she told MSNBC. "I can tell you this: We have done an incredible job considering there's absolutely nothing to work with". "That will help in terms of getting electricity both in transmission and distribution but they need a lot more help right now until they get on their feet", she said. "I mean, the mayor is reacting to a very chaotic situation in Puerto Rico".

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, a frequent critic of the President, said in an interview on CNN that Trump's attack was uncalled for.

Cruz went on to compliment workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and homeland security adviser Tom Bossert for their work in recent days to restore power to parts of the island.

Most of the USA territory's 3.4 million residents remain without power and have struggled to find clean water and fuel 11 days after the hurricane. Cruz says that "if he asks to meet with me, of course I would meet with him".



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