FEMA Administrator Swipes At San Juan Mayor, Those Who ‘Spout Off’ About Aid

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Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long on Sunday swiped at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and others he claimed “spout off” about relief efforts in Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“What I don’t have patience for is the fact that what we’re trying to do and what we have successfully done is we have established a joint field office within San Juan,” Long said on “Fox News Sunday.”

He said the agency is “having daily conversations with all of the mayors” and “working with the governor and his leadership to be able to create unified objectives.”

“If mayors decide not to be a part of that, then the response is fragmented,” Long said. “And the bottom line is, is that we’re pushing everybody, we’re trying to push her, in there.”

“Is Mayor Cruz not participating in the FEMA effort?” Fox News’ Chris Wallace pressed Long, who did not answer.

“You know, we can choose to look at what the mayor spouts off or what other people spout off, but we can also choose to see what’s actually being done, and that’s what I would ask,” Long replied.

President Donald Trump attacked Cruz on Saturday and Sunday after she criticized Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s description of relief efforts on Puerto Rico as a “good news story.”

Trump accused Cruz of “poor leadership ability” and continued to attack “politically motivated ingrates” on Sunday.

For her part, Cruz said she has “only one goal, and it’s saving lives” and said she has “been quite complimentary of the people from HHS and FEMA.”

“Their heart is in the right place. But we have to cut the red tape,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On the same show, Long said island residents are “pulling their weight,” contrary to Trump’s accusation that Cruz and other Puerto Rican leaders “want everything to be done for them.”

“I believe the Puerto Ricans are pulling their weight. I mean, I think they’re doing what they can,” he said. “The bottom line is, the question is, a local mayor’s job is to push commander’s intent down to his or her troops.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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