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President Trump Accuses a Puerto Rico Mayor of 'Poor Leadership' in Hurricane Aftermath

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Following the San Juan mayor's call for more U.S. assistance in Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria, President Donald Trump accused the mayor of "poor leadership" on Twitter, creating an uproar online, The New York Times reports. 

"I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying," Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said in a Friday press conference, asking FEMA for more help. "We are dying and you are killing us with the inefficiency."

"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," the president's post read. "Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who was not able to get their workers to help." 

Trump has received criticism for not responding as quickly to Puerto Rico relief activity as he did with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma earlier this summer. More criticism rose this weekend after it was clear that he was tweeting from his New Jersey golf club while Puerto Rican residents suffered. According to The Times, he claimed that getting help to Puerto Rico was difficult because it is an island "surrounded by water." 

Cruz responded to the president's comments in an interview with MSNBC, clarifying that her criticism of the Trump administration was not a direct hit against the president. She also referenced Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan's response efforts and how even he fet he did not have enough supplies. "I was asking for help," she said of her original comments. "I wasn't saying anything nasty about the President." 

"I'm fighting to save lives," she continued. "That's it. This isn't personal."

Cruz has previously gained attention this week for a now-viral photo of her in waist-deep water, assisting a civilian. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway hit Hamilton and the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, was one of many celebrities angrily responding to Trump's comments. Miranda is well-known for his positive, uplifting tweets, so this change of tone was a definite sign of the severity of the president's message.

Politicians and servicemen also responded to the controversy, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Russel Honore, a retired lietenant general who worked on the American response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, shared with CNN, "The mayor's living on a cot, and I hope the president has a good day at golf."

Amidst the negative feedback, The Chicago Tribune reports that in addition to the presence of 10,000 federal workers in Puerto Rico, recovery workers have cleared 50 percent of major roadways. Although this is an improvement, less than half of residents are said to have access to drinking water. 

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are expected to visit Puerto Rico this Tuesday. 


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