San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz harshly criticized Donald Trump’s bizarre five-hour trip to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico after meeting the president Tuesday.
Speaking with MSNBC host Joy Reid, Cruz said, “This was a PR, 17-minute meeting. There was no exchange with anybody, with none of the mayors.”
Cruz also criticized the optics of Trump throwing paper towels at hurricane survivors.
“This terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels and throwing provisions at people, it does not embody the spirit of the American nation,” Cruz said. “That is not the land of the free and the home of the brave, that beacon of democracy that people have learned to look up to across the world.”
There's video of Trump shooting paper towels into the crowd and it does not disappoint pic.twitter.com/KPfJ1AeAqk
— Caleb Ecarma (@calebecarma) October 3, 2017
“He was insulting to the people of Puerto Rico, he said something like ‘Puerto Rico, you’ve really taken our budget out of whack because of all the money we’ve thrown here.’ He kind of minimized our suffering here by saying Katrina was a ‘real’ disaster, implying this was not a real disaster because not many people have died here,” she continued. “Well, you know what, they’re dying.”
“He really has a communication issue,” she concluded, adding that Trump is the “miscommunicator-in-chief.”
“You don’t go to another place where people are in peril and suffering and you just hover around in a helicopter without having some kind words to say,” she said. “It’s common courtesy. But his staff, on the other hand, seemed to want to approach this a different way.”
Cruz has been one of the loudest voices calling out the federal government’s slow response to the humanitarian crisis on the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
She held a press conference in front of loads of supplies that were sitting in a port and not being delivered to the people who needed them Friday.
“I am going to do what I never thought I would do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying,” Cruz said. “We are dying, and you are killing us with inefficiency and bureaucracy.”
She also hit back at Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who called the federal response in Puerto Rico a “good news story.”
“Maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” Cruz told CNN. “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.”
Trump attacked Cruz on Twitter, accusing her of being “nasty” to him and saying she had “poor leadership ability.”
“Actually, I was asking for help,” Cruz said in response. “I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the president.”