San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz called for more, better coordinated federal aid on Sunday to deal with the widespread storm damage in Puerto Rico as President Trump continued to praise the relief effort and the USA government response.
Trump's weekend tweets have shown him to be contemptuous of any complaints about a laggard US response to the natural disaster that has imperiled the island's future.
Most of the USA territory's 3.4 million residents remain without power and have struggled to find clean water and fuel 11 days after the hurricane.
Henry Jackson, deputy commissioner of the city's Office of Emergency Management, said in a phone interview from the island that his team had set up a distribution center inside the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan to handle the incoming donations from the U.S. He has repeatedly blamed the press for what he sees as unfair coverage of the situation on the ground, where power is out and many people are without food, water and fuel.
"The people who are the best in this are the US military". "We are called to help people".
Numerous others have been scathing in their criticism, pointing out that the "workers" Trump addressed are US citizens who are struggling to rebuild after a crisis with limited food, water and electricity supplies.
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Cruz later begged on television for additional help, as she cried out, "I am begging, begging, anyone who can hear us to save us from dying".
"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", the president charged, without substantiation.
Despite the criticism, Yulín Cruz told ABC's This Week that she would meet with Trump when he visits the island Tuesday if she is invited.
Cruz was born and grew up in the San Juan.
In addition to promising to do "everything we can" to support Puerto Rico, Trump also found time to continue his assault on the NFL and league-wide protests against racial injustice and Trump himself.
His comments have prompted ire from Sanders and other lawmakers who have suggested Trump should not hit out at Puerto Rico while it is in dire need of help. The National Guard expects that 1,400 guard forces will head to Puerto Rico over the next four days. She said she remembers the island as a welcoming place, and realizes that this time she won't be going as a tourist.
Trump touted the federal government's response on the island, saying the workers there are doing "a fantastic job". "We're doing whatever we can", Sandy Polemeni said.
"It's really an honor and a privilege that we are able to go", she said.