Trump bashes mayor of San Juan for 'poor leadership ability'

A woman uses her cellphone on the street during a blackout after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in San Juan Puerto Rico on Sept. 25 2017

The President again praised the federal government's response on the island, which is grappling with the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria, saying the 10,000 federal workers there were doing a "fantastic job".

"I wasn't there to criticize; I was there to beg for help", she said. In another message, he added that Cruz and other local officials "want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort".

He also targeted the media for what he said was disparaging reports of first responders as a proxy for attacking him directly.

"Frankly my dear", she said about Trump, "I don't give a damn".

"We are dying here, and I can not fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world can not figure out logistics for a small island", she said, adding: "(If) we don't get the food and water into people's hands, we are going to see something close to a genocide.

"We have done a great job with the nearly impossible situation in Puerto Rico".

He followed that up by blaming her leadership for the slowness in repairs, while calling Puerto Rican workers lazy, saying they "want everything done for them". At least 16 people on the United States commonwealth died, the government has said.

Trump visits Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

But on Saturday, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) officials reported that a third of the island's telecommunications network had been restored, and some 765 gas stations - well over half - had fuel, though it was not clear how much.

"I'm a ticking time bomb on the verge of exploding", said Adeline Vazquez, 53, who needs a ventilator for respiratory problems and whose building in the western city of Mayaguez does not have enough fuel to run a generator 24 hours a day. And the not-so-subtle suggestion of laziness in Trump's tweets is just more of the same racially coded language that the President has trafficked in since the day he announced his campaign.

Trump tweeted after Cruz criticized the White House's response to Maria's disastrous impact on the USA commonwealth.

The president's criticism of the San Juan mayor drew a strong response from some on Twitter, including famed "Hamilton" creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Cruz had previously accused the Trump administration of "killing us with the inefficiency".

The Food and Drug Administration is anxious that there could be shortages of some critical drugs normally produced in Puerto Rico if manufacturing plants there are closed for an extended period of time.

Maria pummeled Puerto Rico on September 20 on the heels of an earlier hurricane, with roof-ripping winds and torrential rains that caused widespread flooding and heavily damaged homes, roads and other infrastructure. "I mean, I think they're doing what they can", he said.

"I've been quite complimentary of the people from [the Health and Human Services Department] and FEMA", Cruz said.

"In addition to building that first line of the supply chain, we are also rebuilding the entire distribution system. how we're going to deliver commodities and resources to the people of Puerto Rico", acting administrator John Rabin told reporters in San Juan.

Trump has been criticized for being slow to react to pleas for support from Puerto Rico, but quick to respond to criticism that he has given the island less attention than he gave to Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey and Florida, where he keeps a weekend home, after Irma.

After going days without mentioning the hurricane-devastated island after the storm, administration officials have held numerous press conferences describing their relief efforts and Trump has mentioned Puerto Rico at almost every public event.

Gottleib said it's important that the plants that make drugs and medical devices resume normal operations soon, not just to help the patients who need them, but for Puerto Rico's economic health.



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