Monday 20 May 2019

San Juan mayor steps up battle with Trump by wearing 'nasty' T-shirt in TV interview

Carmen Yulin Cruz
Carmen Yulin Cruz

Mark Molloy Washington

The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital San Juan wore a T-shirt with the word "nasty" on live TV in response to criticism from US President Donald Trump in an ongoing dispute over relief efforts on the hurricane-hit island.

Carmen Yulin Cruz again criticised the president, accusing him of lacking "common courtesy" and labelling him a "miscommunicator-in-chief" in an interview.

Mayor Cruz has repeatedly attacked the federal response to Hurricane Maria's devastation of the US island territory, claiming it has been too slow, after millions were left without power and basic necessities.

President Trump tweeted the mayor of San Juan had shown a "nasty" attitude to him and claimed she was showing "poor leadership ability".

Hitting back at the president, she told Univision while wearing the statement T-shirt: "What is really nasty is that anyone would turn their back on the Puerto Rican people.

"When someone is annoyed by someone claiming lack of drinking water, lack of medicine for the sick, and lack of food for the hungry, that person has problems too severe to be explained in an interview," she said.

She also criticised the president's recent visit to Puerto Rico in which he threw paper towels into a crowd of people.

"This terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels and throwing provisions at people, it really does not embody the spirit of the American nation," she said in another interview with MSNBC.

"That is not the land of the free and the home of the brave, the beacon of democracy that people have learned to look up to."

Mayor Cruz also called the president's conference with officials a "PR meeting" and said his comments about the disaster throwing the US budget "out of whack" were "insulting to the people of Puerto Rico".

When they met face-to-face earlier this week, Ms Cruz told the president: "Sir, it's all about saving lives. It's not about politics."

In an earlier interview, Ms Cruz wore a T-shirt saying "help us, we are dying" after Hurricane Maria hit.

"What we are going to see is something close to a genocide," she said.

"We are dying here. I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles."

President Trump tweeted in response: "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.

"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.

"They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."

Mr Trump said his tour of storm damage in Puerto Rico was a "terrific visit" and that residents on the island "are so thankful for what we've done".

"The job that has been done here is really nothing short of a miracle," he added.

Irish Independent

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