Trump blames San Juan mayor, Democrats over Puerto Rico response

Trump blames San Juan mayor, Democrats over Puerto Rico response

(Source: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter) (Source: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter)
(Source: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter) (Source: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter)

(RNN) - President Donald Trump insists a "amazing job" is being done with hurricane relief effort in Puerto Rico despite criticism from elected officials there.

Trump's Twitter account was very active Sunday morning pushing back against San Juan, Puerto Rico's, mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, regarding Hurricane Maria relief efforts, and said Democrats are directing her statements.

He also targeted the media for what he said was disparaging reports of first responders as a proxy for attacking him directly. He renewed that criticism hours later.

Cruz has done multiple live interviews with TV news outlets regarding the damage the island has sustained, and has been vocal about not receiving the aid needed.

"We are dying" Cruz told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Friday night.

In a statement delivered from a relief center, Cruz said, "I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island."

Cruz called on Trump to make sure the effort is being led by someone "up to the task of saving lives."

Earlier Friday, Cruz responded to Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke who called the Puerto Rico relief effort a "good news story." Cruz said, "this is not a good news story - this is a people are dying story."

But according to the president, Cruz need look no further than herself for the problems.

Saturday morning, Trump tweeted from his golf resort in Bedminster, NJ, "Such poor leadership ability from the mayor of San Juan and others who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."

That followed a tweet where he said she had been complimentary a few days ago but "has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump." He also praised the effort of the military and retweeted several accounts about their relief work.

Cruz appeared on MSNBC on Saturday and said she would not be distracted by "small comments."

Trump has repeatedly responded to questions about Puerto Rico by saying it is an island. He is scheduled to visit Tuesday and said he would also like to visit the Virgin Islands, which also suffered severe damage from Maria. Cruz said she was willing to meet with the president and show him the "passion for life" of the Puerto Rican people.

"I'm fighting to save lives - that's it," Cruz said.

Lt. Gen Russel Honore, who headed the military relief effort following Hurricane Katrina, shot back at president for taking the trip to Bedminster.

"The mayor is living on a cot," Honore said. "I hope the president has a good day at golf."

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said political differences shouldn't get in the way of relief work.

"The only way for this to work is for us to have collaboration," Rossello said. "This is a point where we can't look at small differences. We can't establish differences based on politics." 

The media outlets who have interviewed Cruz were not spared from the president's criticism. He added, "Fake News CNN and NBC are going out of their way to disparage our great First Responders as a way to 'get Trump.' Not fair to FR or effort."

FR was likely a typo intended to be "PR" meaning Puerto Rico.

Trump said the media reporting from Puerto Rico were "doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R's."

Despite having criticized the mayor earlier in the day, Trump made a call for unity, asking the people of Puerto Rico to not believe the "fake news" and saying "we must all be united in offering assistance."

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