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President Donald Trump attacked the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Twitter Saturday morning, calling her leadership “poor” and alleging that the Democratic Party told her to be “nasty” to him after she called on the White House to help the U.S. territory left in shambles after Hurricane Maria.
“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump tweeted.
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
...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
...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
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
On Friday, Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz made several pleas for the U.S. government to help Puerto Rico, where people without food, water, and power are “dying,” saying they could “see something close to genocide.”
BREAKING: “We are dying here … we are going to see something close to a genocide" if we don't get more help, San Juan mayor says. pic.twitter.com/Dlfi76m3v9— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 29, 2017
“If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying,” she said at a press conference. “And you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy.”
Cruz also called out FEMA, saying, “I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long.” She then addressed President Trump himself: “We are not as second-class citizens, but as animals that can be disposed of.”
Since the hurricane touched down on Puerto Rico a week and a half ago, the president has been sparse in his vocal support, spending much of last weekend tweeting about NFL protests and saying on Friday that the relief efforts have been hindered because the country is “surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water.”
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who was called on by the Pentagon to lead hurricane relief efforts on Thursday, has said that what is currently being done for Puerto Rico isn’t enough. After much pressure, the White House also announced a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, lifting the shipping restrictions into U.S. ports, and thus allowing food and supplies to be brought into Puerto Rico.
Twitter was afire last night with retweets of Cruz’s pleas for help and her claim that this “not a good news story”—a rebuttal to what Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke had said about the U.S. government’s response to Puerto Rico.
Mayor of San Juan calls out Trump administration on lies about Puerto Rico that stroke the delicate ego of the incompetent Trump. pic.twitter.com/uGwO4f1B9M— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) September 29, 2017
During his tweet attacks this morning, Trump called NBC and CNN “fake news” for reporting Cruz’s cries for more aid.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
The Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R's. Shame!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Trump also tweeted that he and First Lady Melania Trump are planning to be in Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
I will be going to Puerto Rico on Tuesday with Melania. Will hopefully be able to stop at the U.S. Virgin Islands (people working hard).— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
It seems the “big ocean” won’t be in the way then.
Update 11:30am CT, Sept. 30: Cruz responded to Trump’s Twitter attacks on MSNBC this morning, telling Joy Reid, “This is what we have, it is one goal: it is to save lives. I have no time for distractions. All I have is time for people to move forward and get help.”
Jessica Machado is the IRL editor of the Daily Dot. Previously, she was an associate editor at Rolling Stone. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Elle, Vice, Salon, BuzzFeed, Guernica, Bitch, Bust, the Cut, the Awl, the Toast, among others.