Update: Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz appeared on AM Joy Sunday morning and, when asked about the president's tweets about her, set the record straight where her agenda is concerned.
"Actually, I was asking for help," Cruz said. "I wasn't saying anything nasty about the president. But don't take my word for it. Gen. Buchanan, a three-star general, has said as one of the first comments he's said about the Puerto Rico situation, that he doesn't have enough troops, that he doesn't have enough equipment of what he needs to get the situation under control...We have one goal, it is to save lives."
The statements she referred to are from Buchanan's interview on CNN, where he said there were currently not enough troops, but that more would be brought in.
"I have no time for distractions. All I have is time for people to move forward [and] get help," Cruz said. Watch the clip below.
This story was originally published on September 30, 2017.
During the interview, mayor Cruz responded to comments made by Elaine Duke, Homeland Security Secretary, on Thursday.
Duke iterated her satisfaction with the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, explaining that it was “really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths.”
Mayor Cruz vehemently disagreed, saying, "When you're drinking from a creek, it's not a good news story. When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from buildings -- I'm sorry, that really upsets me and frustrates me."
Cruz then invited Duke to come to Puerto Rico to see the damage and how people are coping for themselves, calling it not a good story but a "people are dying" story, and expressing her frustration at the difference in tone between Duke's comments and the phone call she had with the White House on the same day.
Duke arrived in Puerto Rico on Friday, and clarified her earlier remarks, explaining that she meant the "unification of command" helping save lives and get "things to the people they need" in Puerto Rico was a good story.
Cruz's comments didn’t sit well with President Trump.
Early Saturday morning, Trump responded to Cruz’s critical remarks with his own, on Twitter. “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” he said. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help."
Trump then retweeted several government agencies who wrote about the recovery efforts underway in Puerto Rico, and announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump will go to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, October 3. Trump criticized "fake news" networks CNN and NBC for their coverage of the events, but did not mention that federal help was slow to come to the American territory.
In a press conference following Trump's tweetstorm, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló said the federal government have "answered and has complied with our petitions in an expedited manner."
Vox reports that there is still very little electric power in Puerto Rico, 11 days after Maria hit, while water, food, and fuel (to distribute water and food) are scarce.
Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan, the three-star general assigned to lead efforts in Puerto Rico, arrived on Thursday. Buchanan told CNBC that presently FEMA is setting the military's priorities to help Puerto Rico, that increased help from the federal government is expected, and that the Army Corps of Engineers is taking over getting the utility grid updated for long-term transmissions. Buchanan also said his priorities are medical capabilities and logistics support to move and distribute supplies.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has publicly advocated for his home, Puerto Rico, since it was hit by Irma, sent out a series of tweets in response to the president that did not mince words. "You're going straight to hell, @realDonaldTrump. No long lines for you. Someone will say, 'Right this way, sir.' They'll clear a path. She has been working 24/7. You have been GOLFING. You're going straight to hell. Fastest golf cart you ever took," he said.
It has been widely noted that while Puerto Rico's residents are fighting for their lives, Trump has spent time at his golf resort this weekend.
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