San Juan Mayor Responds To Trump: ‘You Don’t Put Debt Above People’

AP

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico asked President Trump on Tuesday to focus on the people in crisis in the U.S. territory instead of Puerto Rico’s debt.

After being criticized for obsessing over NFL protests instead of the devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria, Trump finally tweeted about the crisis Monday night, but seemingly blamed the U.S. territory’s debt and “broken infrastructure” for the widespread wreckage.

“Texas and Florida are doing great, but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure and massive debt, is in deep trouble,” he tweeted, saying the electrical grid was already in “terrible shape” and mentioning the “billions” the territory owes Wall Street.

In response, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz asked Trump to treat hurricane relief and Puerto Rico’s debt as “two different issues.”

With all due respect, these are two different topics,” she said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning. “One topic is the massive debt, which we know we have and it’s been dealt with. But you don’t put debt above people, you put people above debt. So, what we are asking for and what — what I’m asking for, and this is my comment, nobody else’s comment — is let’s deal with the two issues in a separate way.”

She said the U.S. has a “moral imperative” to help out the islands, which she described as being in “dire need”

When somebody is in need, when somebody is in dire need, when somebody is in a life or death situation, there’s a human, moral imperative to deal with that situation first and then deal with any other situations coming your way,” she said, calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis.”

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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