San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz ripped President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria as nearly half of Puerto Ricans still lack power 100 days after the hurricane made landfall, telling ABC News that Trump was “disrespectful” to the U.S. citizens.
“He was disrespectful to the Puerto Rican people, he was disrespectful to the American people who were leaving their homes to come help us here,” Cruz said. “Where he needed to be a commander in chief, he was a disaster-in-chief.”
“President Trump does not embody the values of the good-hearted American people that have [made] sure that we are not forgotten,” she added.
The Hill added:
Maria swept through Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, wiping out power on the island and leaving thousands without clean drinking water.
Months later, a large portion of the electrical grid is still not up and running. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told ABC News that it may take until May to have power fully restored.
Trump and Cruz butted heads throughout the immediate aftermath of Maria. As Cruz and other leaders put pressure on Trump to increase the amount of federal aid to Puerto Rico, Trump attacked her on Twitter, saying she had “poor leadership ability” and suggesting that Puerto Rico was to blame for the destruction.
“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump tweeted.
The president told Puerto Rican officials on a visit to the island that the cost associated with hurricane relief and rescue mission efforts had “thrown our budget a little out of whack,” while also telling reporters the disaster wasn’t a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina.
And while handing out (and playfully tossing) supplies to hurricane victims at a church in Puerto Rico, President Trump told residents “flashlights? You don’t need ‘em anymore,” even as over 90 percent of the island’s 3.4 million residents remained without power nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria.
Though the official death toll from the hurricane was 64 people, analysis of deaths found that the actual count may be well over 1,000, prompting a review and recount of hurricane-related deaths.
“We owe it to the memory of those people to know,” Cruz told ABC News. “And we owe it to the transformation of Puerto Rico: why they died, and how we can ensure that this does not happen again.”