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Puerto Rico

Donald Trump has dedicated a golf tournament victory to hurricane victims

The Presidents Cup was won by the USA.

Based Patriot / YouTube

US PRESIDENT DONALD spent yesterday afternoon attending a high-profile golf tournament, signalling that he will not be cowed by critics of his response to Hurricane Maria.

Earlier , Trump had scoffed at “politically motivated ingrates” who questioned his administration’s commitment to rebuilding Puerto Rico after the pulverising storm. He assured Americans there had been “tremendous progress.”

The remarks, in tweets and from the manicured green, demonstrated Trump’s defiance in the face of charges that he has been distracted and his administration slow to respond to the US territory’s struggle to restore power and basic services in the two weeks after the storm.

Neither those charges, nor his past criticism of his predecessor for golfing during a crisis, kept him from attending The Presidents Cup in New Jersey.

The Presidents Cup is a team tournament that pits US golfers against golfers from elsewhere in the world from outside Europe.

After staying Saturday at his own New Jersey golf club, Trump yesterday travelled to Jersey City, where he spent the afternoon in the hospitality suite perched above the Liberty National Golf Club’s 14th hole.

He was on hand to present the tournament’s trophy to Team USA., which he dedicated to the people of Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida still recovering from hurricane devastation.

“I want to just remember them and we’re going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much, that we love,” he said, adding of Puerto Rico: “We have it under really great control.”

As Trump spoke, someone in the crowd accused him of not caring about Puerto Rico, using a vulgarism to make the point.

Returning to the White House, Trump told reporters Sunday evening:

We’re doing really well on Puerto Rico. I’ll be going there on Tuesday. Tremendous progress being made. 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.

Trump President Donald Trump speaks to reporters about Puerto Rico upon his return to the White House in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta / PA Images Manuel Balce Ceneta / PA Images / PA Images

Trump spent years hammering his predecessor, Barack Obama, both for playing golf and leaving Washington too often.

“President Obama should have gone to Louisiana days ago, instead of golfing,” he tweeted in August of last year, after severe flooding in the state. “Too little, too late!”

In 2014, Obama was criticised for playing golf right after speaking to reporters about the execution of journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants.

And President George W. Bush was faulted for not immediately returning to Washington from his Crawford, Texas, ranch after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said that Trump had committed to attending the golf tournament “many months ago.”

“He is being continually updated on the situation in Puerto Rico and only came briefly to present the trophy to the American team who are serving as great representatives for our country,” she said, adding:

He is eager to get to Puerto Rico on Tuesday and further emphasise his dedication to the recovery efforts which have received widespread praise from local officials on the ground.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Victims A woman washes her clothes with water from the mountain in Puerto Rico. Ramon Espinosa / PA Images Ramon Espinosa / PA Images / PA Images

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, whose criticism on Friday of the federal response drew Trump’s scorn, said that people from federal agencies had been helpful but that the island needed even more.

“I recognise the good heart that the FEMA people have. They want to help, but they don’t have the resources,” she said on ABC’s This Week.

Her tone was far different Friday when she accused the Trump administration of “killing us with the inefficiency” after the storm.

She begged the president to “make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives,” and appealed for help “to save us from dying.”

Trump had responded by deriding the “poor leadership ability” of the mayor and others in Puerto Rico “who are not able to get their workers to help.”

He added, without elaboration, “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”

The Trump administration said it had more than 10,000 federal officials on the ground, and that urban search and rescue teams have covered the entire island, searching more than 2,649 structures.

Read: Donald Trump has accused Puerto Ricans of wanting ‘everything done for them’ >

Read: ‘We practiced him stalking me on the stage’: Hillary Clinton takes aim at Trump in Late Late Show interview >

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