SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Puerto Ricans on Saturday for the slow pace of relief from the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Maria, saying his government, which has come under fire for its response, was doing an "amazing job".
Only moments after Trump's self-congratulatory remarks were broadcast, the mayor of San Juan went on television to unleash a damning indictment of the U.S. government's treatment of the 3.5 million Americans on the island. He also wrote that "poor leadership" by Cruz and others in Puerto Rico was the reason they "are not able to get their workers to help".
"They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort", Trump wrote from his New Jersey golf club.
"I am proud of the work that Department of Defense, FEMA, and the territory, along with the first responders, are doing", she said.
"We have no time for patience any more", said Carmen Yulin Cruz in a news conference.
She implored the president, who is set to visit the US territory on Tuesday, to "make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives".
The Trump administration, including President Trump himself, has criticized the media for not showing the federal recovery effort in Puerto Rico in a good enough light.
Asked how long it would take for Puerto Rico to recover, Buchanan, the general leading the military effort, gave a slight sigh and said: "This is a very, very long duration".
"It's really hard to talk about bankruptcy and debt when people have no power, no water, no homes, and their entire lives have been devastated", said Julio Ricardo Varela, 48, a journalist from Puerto Rico who co-hosts the In the Thick political podcast. Then Duke said before leaving Washington that the federal relief effort was a "good-news story" because of "our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths".
"Well, maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story".
"The tweets this morning are despicable, are deplorable, are not statesman-like at all", said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Democrat who was born in Puerto Rico. And while no two situations are the same, the comparisons between those first days in 2005 and the last week in Puerto Rico after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria are both eerie and infuriating.
"This is - Damnit, this is not a good news story", the mayor said, adding: "It is not a good news story when people are dying when they don't have dialysis, and when their generators aren't working and their oxygen is not providing for them". Puerto Rico has incurred most of the damage.
Her remarks sparked the angry response from the mayor of San Juan, the capital of the island of 3.4 million people.
Cruz said people in some areas were drinking from a creek.
The decision to send the unit followed an announcement earlier Friday by Baker and Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh of a new MA fund for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
"Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort, which will end up being one of the biggest ever, will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island", Trump said. Dammit, this is not a good news story.
"I am not going to be distracted by small comments, by politics, by petty issues", she said.