A new wrinkle has been introduced into the feud between Carmen Yulin Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico, and President Donald Trump.
An explanation has been offered to shed light on why Cruz has attacked Trump’s response to the hurricane damaged island. That explanation goes beyond the usual blaming others for one’s own failures.
Former Puerto Rico Attorney General Jose Fuentes on Sunday took aim at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, accusing her of attacking President Trump and using hurricane relief efforts to lay the groundwork for a gubernatorial bid.
“The mayor of San Juan is a political hack,” Fuentes said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Fuentes accused Cruz of making an about-face, saying she supported Trump until her political adviser suggested the idea of running for governor.
“She is singing the praises of the president until her political adviser, [Rep.] Luis Gutiérrez from Chicago, got there and brought her the t-shirts and said, ‘Hey you want to run for governor, if she wants to run,” he continued until the anchor cut him off, pointing to audio issues.
The president launched a series of tweets attacking Cruz early Saturday, accusing the mayor of exhibiting poor leadership in the midst of the recovery efforts and claiming Puerto Rican leaders want the federal government to do everything for them.
His tweets came one day after Cruz issued an emotional plea for help, saying people are dying on the American territory and partially blaming stalled recovery efforts on the federal government’s inefficiency and red tape.
“I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” Cruz said during a press conference.
The Trump administration has come under fire from critics who say it is failing to help the island as it struggles with widespread power outages, collapsed infrastructure and ongoing shortages of water and supplies.
The president is scheduled to travel to Puerto Rico on Tuesday after Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma tore through the region in the last two months.
MADAM MAYOR LOOKING LESS GLAMOROUS THAN ABOVE.
As this piece was being put together, The Hill published a new story that shows that Trump isn’t going to be tagged a failure without a fight.
President Trump hailed the “tremendous progress” in Puerto Rico as he returned to the White House on Sunday.
“We’re doing really well on Puerto Rico. I’ll be going there on Tuesday. Tremendous progress being made,” Trump told reporters, according to a pool report.
“We’re getting the roads open, we’re getting a lot of things done — really at a record clip. So we’re very happy with that. And I’ll be going there on Tuesday.”
Trump made the comments as he returned from a weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Earlier Sunday he dedicated the trophy at the Presidents Cup golf tournament to victims of the recent hurricanes that have hit the U.S.
Trump’s administration is facing criticism for not doing enough to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island more than a week ago.
The territory is largely without power and more than half of the island doesn’t have access to drinking water. Residents are facing food shortages and a collapsed infrastructure, and local officials say the situation is becoming a humanitarian crisis.
Trump and officials in his administration have defended their response, saying they have sent resources and assistance to the island in response to the natural disaster.
In my younger days, my family and I weathered Hurricane Betsy, which hit South Louisiana hard. We were without power and water for two weeks. That was in a place where the officials were reasonably competent. We missed having our modest little home from being flooded by a couple of city blocks. Hundreds of homes were under water for a week. Our shingles were blown off the roof, though. Roofers from all over the south descended on the area, smelling work. They found it.
It takes time to fix hurricane damage. Having a publicity hound mayor doesn’t help get the job done.