San Juan Mayor: Any ‘Dialogue’ About Aid ‘Has To Be Able To Produce Results’

ANGEL LUIS GARCIA/GDA/El Nuevo Dia/Puerto Rico

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who weathered attacks from President Donald Trump after she criticized the White House’s rhetoric about relief efforts on Puerto Rico after the island was battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, on Sunday said her only goal is “saving lives.”

“There’s only one goal, and it’s saving lives. So any dialogue that goes on just has to be able to produce results,” Cruz said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“All I did last week, or even this week, was ask for help,” she added. “It has to happen in a sustained manner. It has to happen quickly.”

Cruz on Friday pushed back on Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s characterization of relief efforts on Puerto Rico as a “good news story.”

Her remarks drew Trump’s ire. The President, previously fixated on what he called Puerto Rico’s “tremendous amount of existing debt,” accused Cruz of “poor leadership ability” and criticized her and other Puerto Rican leaders he claimed “want everything to be done for them.”

He continued to attack “politically motivated ingrates” on Sunday.

“If he asks to meet with me, of course I would meet with him,” Cruz said of Trump. “I mean, you know, anything that can be done and anyone that can listen.”

Cruz 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. That’s the one message,” she said. “And number two, let us not talk about the debt. Let us not talk about the cost of reconstruction. Let us just talk about saving lives right now, putting back the power grid as soon as we can, because that has an immediate effect on our ability to recover financially.”

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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