02 October, 2017
The Republican president said his government was doing a "great job" to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria and took a new swipe at critics who said he had been slow to aid the island, where the power grid was destroyed 12 days ago.
Several Puerto Ricans contacted by CNN stood up for San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who apparently provoked the Trump tweet with a call for more aid, and many said the Puerto Rican community at home and overseas is already working together.
After San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz complained in impassioned remarks that, "We are dying here, and I can not fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world can not figure out logistics for a small island", Trump unleashed a Twitter rant.
This was in response to Trump's early Saturday morning Tweet that read, "They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers on island doing a fantastic job".
President Donald Trump is defending his response to Puerto Rico's hurricane destruction and says "big decisions" are coming on the cost of rebuilding the island.
Trump also lashed out at comments made by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz at a press conference on Friday.
Since Hurricane Maria slammed into the USA territory as a Category 4 hurricane earlier this month, much of the island has been devastated - leaving millions of Americans without electricity and water, and limited access to gas and other vital supplies.
Cruz, in response, said later Saturday morning that she'll "continue to do whatever I have to do" to get federal hurricane assistance. She says Trump is responding to a request from the governor, and it "will go into effect immediately". "I mean, the mayor is reacting to a very chaotic situation in Puerto Rico. The governor called and said, 'Look, you do.' And they did it right away", she said.
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"Despite the fake news media in conjunction with the dems", he tweeted, "an awesome job is being done in Puerto Rico". In a briefing Saturday he pointed to efforts by FEMA to deliver fuel across the island, particularly to hospitals.
The President stirred things up with a series of tweets Saturday from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending the weekend.
Cruz said on Sunday she would be willing to meet Trump when he visits the island on Tuesday.
In a report from central Puerto Rico this week, CNN's Leyla Santiago repeatedly emphasized that residents were USA citizens.
FEMA said Saturday that more than 60 percent of Puerto Rico's gas stations were in service, and that as of Thursday almost half of grocery stores were operating. "Let's not talk about jurisdiction, head-on collisions, let's talk about how we can make sure that people get stuff fast and easy".
Trump is planning to visit the USA territory on Tuesday.
Begnaud and Santiago both said they receive hundreds of messages a day from people on the mainland, asking them to check on relatives.
The tweets, coming from a President ensconced in his New Jersey golf club, sought to defend Washington's efforts to mobilize and coordinate recovery efforts on a USA territory in dire straits nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck.