Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Trump tells Puerto Rico

Eli Rowe’s team of 12 delivered supplies to the San Juan Chabad as well as to vulnerable areas throughout Puerto Rico’s capital Sept. 25 2017. JTA Eli Rowe’s team of 12 delivered supplies to the San Juan Chabad as well as to vulnerable areas throughout Puerto Rico’s capital Sept. 25 2017. JTA
Debra Rodriguez | 02 October, 2017, 01:48

President Trump's full-throated social media defense of his administration's response to Hurricane Maria culminated in an evening tweet that praised FEMA workers and military personnel with an official-looking video.

In a late afternoon Twitter blast about the government hurricane response effort, Trump said "to the people of Puerto Rico: Do not believe the #FakeNews!"

"President Trump thanked the governors for their leadership in responding to and recovering from these catastrophic events", read one line.

Earlier, Trump lambasted San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for "poor leadership" and being "nasty" over her remarks that the White House isn't doing enough to support Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

At the news conference on Friday, Cruz said, "I am done being polite".

Long before Maria struck, the US territory was in crisis.

"I think Trump is wrong in criticizing the mayor", Acosta said. "If he asks to meet with me, of course I will meet him".

He says the hurricane "totally destroyed" Puerto Rico and that "the military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an incredible job".

"Most of our nursing homes have people that have an inability to move, so they're stuck in the 14th floor, they have no water, they have no food, they - majority are insulin-dependent", she said. After more than a week of desperation, many were still unable to access essentials including food and water.

The leader of Puerto Rico's capital city says she knows "the good heart of the American people and I know that when a mayday sound goes off, they come to the rescue". That needs to be resolved immediately.

San Juan resident Gabriela Gonzalez - a self proclaimed Trump supporter - says she hopes Trump will see "something else besides the airport" when he visits on Tuesday because "it's even worse in the rest of the island".

FEMA said Saturday that more than 60 percent of Puerto Rico's gas stations were in service, and that as of Thursday almost half of grocery stores were operating. "That will help in terms of getting electricity both in transmission and distribution but they need a lot more help right now until they get on their feet", she said.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney joined in the attack on Cruz on Sunday morning.

FEMA director Brock Long admonished her for not being in closer contact with relief coordinators. 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. Cruz avoided directly criticizing Trump on Sunday and attempted to refocus the discussion on speeding aid and supplies to people on the island territory.

But Trump's comments drew swift condemnation elsewhere, particularly from U.S. Democrats. "Doing everything we can to help great people of PR!"

The insurance industry has begun to tally the mounting costs of Maria, with one modelling company estimating that claims could total as much as US$85 billion (RM359 billion).

TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan reports from Puerto Rico.

The President stirred things up with a series of tweets Saturday from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending the weekend.

The creator of Broadway hit "Hamilton", Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose parents moved to NY from Puerto Rico, took Trump to task on Twitter over his attack on Cruz: "She has been working 24/7. You have been GOLFING", Miranda added in a follow-up tweet.

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