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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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Donald Trump has accused Puerto Ricans of wanting 'everything done for them'

The island has been left without electricity and running water due to two hurricanes hurtling across the island.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the US territory’s economy. Source: Gerald Herbert via PA Images

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has attacked Puerto Rico’s mayor over her “poor leadership ability” after she criticized the pace of relief efforts in the wake of devastating Hurricane Maria.

Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of the territory’s capital city San Juan, has repeatedly called on federal authorities to do more to get vital supplies to residents, many of whom are still without power and running water since the storm delivered a body-blow to the island earlier this month.

Trump lashed out in a series of morning tweets, while also suggesting that Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them” and had left the bulk of relief work to federal first responders and the military.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Puerto Ricans bathe in water piped from a creek in the mountains in Naranjito. Source: Ramon Espinosa via PA Images

“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,” he wrote.

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. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.

In response, Cruz sent a tweet which included pictures of her helping with flood relief efforts, and said the one goal they had was to save lives: “we cannot be distracted by anything else”.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, an emotional Cruz appeared to take issue to a series of oddly upbeat comments made by Trump administration officials.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

“We are dying here, and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island,” she said, adding: “(If) we don’t get the food and water into people’s hands, we are going to see something close to a genocide.

“I respectfully disagree with President Trump and I am sure that he is not getting the data that we are seeing in the streets.”

Trump’s latest missive could further inflame sentiment after he had earlier weighed in on the emerging fight over how to finance the already debt-stricken territory’s recovery – comments that were viewed as premature and distasteful by some.

The Week That Was in Latin America Photo Gallery Ruby Rodriguez, aged 8, looks back at her mother as she wades across the San Lorenzo Morovis river, since the bridge was swept away by Hurricane Maria. Source: Gerald Herbert via PA Images

In a series of tweets sent on Tuesday, Trump tweeted that “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble”.

“Much of the Island was destroyed,” he continued, “with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”

“Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well,” he added.

The president plans to visit Puerto Rico next week.

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha. 

Read: Trump defends response to Puerto Rico disaster as he plans visit to island

Read: 70,000 people ordered to evacuate homes after dam fails in Puerto Rico

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