After Trump Attacks Her Leadership, San Juan Mayor: The Goal Is ‘Saving Lives’

Xavier Araujo/GDA/El Nuevo Dia/Puerto Rico

President Donald Trump started off the weekend by calling out the leaders of the Puerto Rican government for having “poor leadership” skills in their efforts to recover from the widespread devastation the islands suffered after Hurricane Irma and Maria.

But San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who Trump directly attacked in his tweet, is taking the high road after a few days of back and forth public critiques between herself and the federal government.

Cruz tweeted Saturday morning that the only goal is to save lives and said Puerto Rico “cannot be distracted by anything else.”

Trump’s remarks Saturday morning were likely in response to Cruz expressing frustration with the administration’s characterization of relief efforts in the U.S. territory.

On Thursday, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said the federal government’s recovery efforts in Puerto Rico were a “good news story,” a comment Cruz strongly combatted during an interview with CNN Friday.

Well, maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” Cruz said. “When you are 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. When you have to pull people down from their buildings — I’m sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me.”

Trump tweeted Saturday morning blaming her and others and saying the hurricane recovery should be a “community effort.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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