San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz responded to President Trump's tweets on Saturday and said she has no time for "small politics" amid Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria.
Cruz told CNN that she was aware of his tweets later in the afternoon because the internet was spotty in Puerto Rico. When asked what she thought about his tweets, she said, "I just think hes looking for an excuse for things that are not going well."
Cruz reiterated her commitment to help residents on the island who are living without power and other resources.
President Donald Trump alleged Saturday that “the Democrats” have ordered San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz to be “nasty” to him after she disputed the administration’s upbeat portrayal of its response to Hurricane Maria, according to WJLA.
Cruz had reacted angrily Friday when acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke described the recovery effort in Puerto Rico as “a good news story.”
"Well maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story," Cruz said on CNN’s "New Day." "When you're drinking from a creek, it's not a good news story. When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from buildings -- I'm sorry, that really upsets me and frustrates me."
She called Duke’s comment “irresponsible” and suggested it conflicted with statements of support she received from the White House. She also blamed "bureaucracy" for delays in federal assistance.
"We are truly dying here.... If Mr. Trump can hear us, let's just get it over with and get the ball rolling," Cruz told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Friday night.
“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,” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.
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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Trump claimed Cruz has shown “poor leadership” and said she and others in Puerto Rico “want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”
...Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
“The military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job. Puerto Rico was totally destroyed,” he added before retweeting posts from military accounts showing federal workers providing humanitarian assistance.
...want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Although military trucks have begun distributing water and food rations throughout the territory, thousands on the island are still without power and other resources.
The military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job. Puerto Rico was totally destroyed.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Following Trump's tweetstorm, Cruz posted pictures of herself with rescuers and residents, saying, "The goal is one: saving lives. This is the time to show our 'true colors.' We cannot be distracted by anything else."
Appearing on MSNBC later in the morning, Cruz laughed off Trump's accusation that Democrats told her to criticize him, noting that the general in charge of the response has also said he does not have enough troops and equipment to get the situation under control.
"This isn't about me," she said. "This isn't about anyone. This is about lives that are being lost if things do not get done properly real quickly."
Duke attempted to clarify the “good news” comment while in San Juan Friday, saying she was happy about how hard everyone is working but she recognizes the recovery is far from over.