President Trump will travel to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico tomorrow after a weekend of Twitter attacks aimed at the mayor of the island’s capital city who criticized the speed and breadth of the federal response.
“Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates, people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military,” Trump tweeted yesterday from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort.
The tweet came one day after Trump assailed San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on Twitter for “poor leadership” and said Puerto Rican officials “want everything to be done for them.”
Cruz has praised federal personnel on the ground in Puerto Rico, but criticized Trump and other officials who had said recovery efforts on the island were going well.
“Dammit, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story,” Cruz said Friday.
It is unclear whether Trump will meet with Cruz during his trip. The White House has yet to finalize Trump’s schedule, but Cruz said she would be willing to meet with him.
“If he asks to meet with me, of course I will meet with him,” Cruz said yesterday on ABC’s “This Week.” “Anything that can be done and anyone that can listen — again, I’ve been quite complimentary of the people from HHS and FEMA. Their heart is in the right place but we have to cut the red tape.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer defended Cruz’s criticisms, noting there are fewer federal responders in Puerto Rico than were sent to Haiti after that country’s 2010 earthquake.
“In Haiti there were 22,000 troops after two weeks. Here, right now, there are 10,000. And those are very, very recent,” Schumer said on CBS. “So this has not been a good response.”
As of yesterday the administration said 12,600 federal staff were on the ground to distribute meals, water and other aid — an effort hampered by damaged roads and a lack of manpower because so many local workers are themselves displaced. Electricity has been restored to about 5 percent of Puerto Rico.
Last night Trump tried to take a softer tone, dedicating the trophy of the Presidents Cup golf tournament to the people of Puerto Rico and other areas hit by hurricanes in recent weeks.
“I want to just remember them and we’re going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people who went through so much,” Trump said.
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