Health Care

Under Fire, Trump Blames Puerto Ricans For Slow Hurricane Response

Under Fire, Trump Blames Puerto Ricans For Slow Hurricane Response”

Despite his claims that aid workers on the island are doing a "fantastic job", Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, said his administration are "killing us with inefficiency".

Maria made landfall as a major Category 4 hurricane in Puerto Rico on September 20, killing at least 16 people, knocking out power, decimating infrastructure and drowning the island's agriculture.

Trump fired back at Cruz in a tweet, accusing her of "poor leadership" and saying some Puerto Ricans "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", he wrote.

"I will continue to do whatever I have to do, say whatever I have to say, compliment the people I need to compliment and call out the people I need to call out", she told MSNBC.

Criticized for devoting more attention to protests by professional football players than to the disaster in the Caribbean, the White House announced Saturday that the president would make a series of phone calls later in the day to officials in Puerto Rico ahead of a visit there on Tuesday. Trump has pledged to spare no effort to help Puerto Rico recover from Maria's ruinous aftermath, and tweeted that military personnel and first responders had done "an awesome job", despite having "no electric, roads, phones etc". "This is what we got last night: four pallets of water, three pallets of meals and 12 pallets of infant food - which I gave them to the people of Comerio, where people are drinking off a creek".

After going days without mentioning Puerto Rico following Maria, however, administration officials have attempted to play catchup, holding numerous press conferences to describe their relief efforts; Trump now manages to get in a mention of Puerto Rico at almost every public event.

"People, which we're getting", he said.

The president's messages were echoed in unusually feisty tweets from Vice President Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that praised Trump, Rossello, and the FEMA response in a sharp pushback against a developing media narrative.

"Despite the fake news media in conjunction with the dems", he tweeted, "an incredible job is being done in Puerto Rico". "Someone will say, 'Right this way, sir.' They'll clear a path". "I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying".

It is simply not true that things are going well in Puerto Rico.

FEMA administrator Brock Long continued defending the agency's response, citing work to reopen 700 gas stations and roughly 50 percent of "private-sector grocery retail" and return telephone service to a third of the people on the island. He has also made repeated reference to Puerto Rico's debt, even in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe. "Results of recovery efforts will speak much louder than complaints by San Juan Mayor", he wrote on Saturday afternoon.

"Let me stress this: I am committed to collaborating with everybody", he said. Please stop tweeting & golfing while people are dying!



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