100 days after Maria, Puerto Rico mayor slams Trump for feds' response

By Sara Shayanian  |  Dec. 29, 2017 at 9:38 AM
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Dec. 29 (UPI) -- One hundred days after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz lambasted President Donald Trump for the federal government's response to the natural disaster.

Cruz, who's been critical of Trump in the past few months, told ABC News Friday the president is the "disaster in-chief."

"He was disrespectful to the Puerto Rican people. He was disrespectful to the American people who were leaving their homes to come help us here," Cruz said. "Where he needed to be a commander-in-chief, he was a disaster-in-chief.

"President Trump does not embody the values of the good-hearted American people."

Even with her criticism for the president, Cruz said she's "grateful for all Americans that have stood with San Juan and Puerto Rico," but acknowledged the island wasn't fully recovered.

"Are we better from September 20? Yes," she said. "But are we there yet? Hell no."

Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm, just days after the island was nearly hit by Hurricane Irma. More than three months after the storm, basic essentials remain scarce and about half of the island still lacks power. Although the official death count is less than 100, independent investigations estimate more than 1,000 people died.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority says 69 percent of the electrical grid is generating power, but it is unclear how many people or businesses are receiving that power or how stable the source is.

Cruz said the utility hasn't brought back power to some crucial centers for health care and hospitals.

"The government has already talked about generation, but if it's not getting to the hospitals or businesses or homes," she said. "The power isn't going anywhere."

Trump blasted Cruz on Twitter in September, saying the leader had shown "poor leadership ability" and that Puerto Ricans wanted "everything to be done for them."

"He has failed the moral imperative that any leader of the free world should hold at the highest level," she said.

"All he needs to do is simple: do his job. I think the world has seen a commander in chief unable to command."

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