San Juan Mayor To Attend Briefing With Trump Despite President’s Attacks

Carlos Giusti/AP

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who President Donald Trump has accused of having “poor leadership,” will meet with the President during his visit to the hurricane-stricken island Tuesday.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said she accepted the invitation to attend the meeting on “behalf of the people of San Juan and out of respect for the American people,” she said in a statement obtained by NBC and ABC News. She said she would use the meeting as a chance to “reiterate” the message she’s been trying to send since Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last month.

“This is about saving lives, not about politics; this is about giving the people of Puerto Rico the respect we deserve; and recognizing the moral imperative to do both,” she said.

She called the devastation a “humanitarian crisis” that should be addressed with a “sense of urgency” and said she would advocate for “a continuous supply chain of aid” and the need to “cut the red tape” in order to get the supplies the U.S. territory needs.

“Open channels of communication are always good to have, but they must produce much needed results,” she said.

Trump has gone after Cruz several times over the past week, as Cruz has been vocal about what she’s called a poor response from the Trump administration. Trump personally attacked Cruz on Twitter over the weekend, saying she has “poor leadership” skills and claiming Puerto Rico’s leaders want “everything to be done for them.”

Cruz was invited to listen in on a conference call with Trump’s Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert on Monday, but her line was muted and she wasn’t able to contribute to the conversation, she told the Independent.

Before leaving for Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that “at a local level, (Puerto Rico officials) have to give us more help.”

Read Cruz’ full statement below: