White House Dodges Questions About Trump’s Attacks On San Juan Mayor

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday dodged questions about President Donald Trump’s attacks on the mayor of San Juan and other Puerto Rican leaders he claimed “want everything to be done for them.”

“What was she doing that prompted such criticism from the President?” Fox News’ John Roberts asked Sanders during her daily briefing, referring to Trump’s tweets about San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

“Look, right now our focus is to bring the mayor into the coordination efforts,” Sanders replied.

She said Trump’s administration and “other members on the ground” have reached out to Cruz.

“We hope that she will join with us in those efforts and be part of things,” Sanders said. “She’s been invited to participate in the events tomorrow as well, and we hope that those conversations will happen and we can all work together to move forward.”

Trump on Saturday attacked Cruz after she criticized Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s remark that hurricane relief efforts on Puerto Rico are a “good news story.”

He accused Cruz of “poor leadership ability” and on Sunday went after “politically motivated ingrates” Trump claimed failed to recognize the United States’ relief efforts.

Asked who Trump was referring to when he accused some Puerto Rican leaders of wanting everything done for them, Sanders said, “I haven’t talked to him specifically about a defined of who ‘they’ might be.”

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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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