As Puerto Rico continues to suffer in wake of Hurricane Maria, President Trump took to Twitter Saturday morning to slam the mayor of San Juan and other leaders for criticizing the White House relief efforts on the island.
Following a heart-felt plea for aid from officials there, Trump slammed the “poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico” from his golf course in New Jersey 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,” he wrote.
At least 16 people have died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm, and residents are still desperately searching for food, water and other supplies 10 days after Maria came ashore.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who is a member of the island’s Popular Democratic party, had said Friday that federal aid was coming in too slowly, blasting what she called a bureaucratic bottleneck.
She specifically criticized Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke for referring to the U.S. response to the struggling Puerto Rico as a “good news story.”
“Maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” Cruz said. “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.”
Duke had visited the island Friday, looking over the ravaged landscape by helicopter in an hour-long tour. She offered encouragement to some of the emergency personnel that she says the government has on the ground.
Hurricane Maria strikes Puerto Rico after pummeling Caribbean
Cruz also accused the Trump administration of “killing us with inefficiency,” something the President directly disputed in his early-morning Twitter tirade.
“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” the President tweeted around 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
“10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
Army Lt. Gen Jeff Buchanan, the three-star general newly in charge of coordinating response efforts, Friday morning said the Department of Defense has not sent enough troops yet, but intends to do so soon, the Hill reported.
“We’re certainly bringing in more [troops],” he said. “For example, on the military side, we’re bringing in both Air Force, Navy and Army medical capabilities in addition to aircraft, more helicopters … It’s not enough, and we’re bringing more in.”
Cruz, seemingly in response to Trump, tweeted out a series of photos alongside the words: “Ths goal is one: saving lives. This the time to show our ‘true colors.’ We cannot be distracted by anything else.”
Trump on Saturday also took aim at one of his more typical targets: the fake news.
“The Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first Rs!” Trump tweeted. “Shame!”
Lin-Manuel Miranda responded to the President just before 9 a.m. with string of fiery tweets all his own.
“You’re going straight to hell @realDonaldTrump,” he wrote. “No long lines for you. Someone will say, ‘Right this way sir.’ They’ll clear a path.”
The “Hamilton” creator, who has been open with his family’s struggles in Puerto Rico since the storm, defended the island’s leadership and slammed Trump for golfing instead of sorting out additional aid.
“Did you tweet this one from the first hole, 18th hole, or the club?” Miranda tweeted. “Anyway, it’s a lie. You’re a congenital liar.”
He wrapped his rant with a link to donate to relief efforts and the words: “Ok. Back to work.”
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy also hit out at Trump’s twitter attack, blasting him for sitting in “his opulent golf resort” and “attacking hurricane first responders.”
“Don’t ever let this become normalize,” he urged.
Trump and Melania are slated to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday. The President said he also hoped to stop by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where “people are working hard.”
Thousands more Puerto Ricans received water and rationed food Friday as the bottleneck began to ease.
With News Wire Services