WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday morning assailed “politically motivated ingrates” for criticizing the speed and scope of the federal recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Maria, while praising first responders, the military, Puerto Rico’s governor and federal workers.
“We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates. People are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military. All buildings now inspected for safety,” Trump wrote.
Maria, a Category 4 hurricane, devastated Puerto Rico, whose 3.4 million residents are U.S. citizens. It struck Sept. 20, soon after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Trump also attacked the “poor leadership” of the mayor of ravaged San Juan, who had criticized him in pleading for more aid, suggested that islanders “want everything to be done for them.”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, on ABC’s “This Week” for a second day declined to respond directly to Trump’s personal criticism of her, saying: “There’s only one goal, and that’s saving lives.”
Cruz said she appreciated the efforts of responders, including those from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but felt they had not been given sufficient means to help those in the most dire need.
“I recognize the good heart that the FEMA people have, and they want to help,” she said. “They just don’t have the resources.”
Trump is set to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
rock Long, the FEMA administrator, pointed Sunday to round-the-clock efforts to repair the electrical grid and get basic supplies like food and water to cut-off areas.
“We’ve pushed everything into that island that we can,” said Long, also on “This Week.” Asked about Trump’s suggestion that Puerto Ricans were not doing enough to help themselves, Long said, “I believe in the Puerto Ricans. They’re pulling their weight.”
Cruz said in the ABC interview that while she wanted to see federal efforts become more effective, she would speak with Trump when he visits Puerto Rico Tuesday.
“If he asks to meet with me, of course I will meet with him,” she said. “Anything that can be done, and anyone that can listen.”