Donald Trump Just Attacked the Mayor of San Juan

Carmen Yulín Cruz gave an emotional speech yesterday. Trump didn’t take it well.

President Donald Trump at the Oval Office on Friday. Alex Brandon/AP

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

Update Saturday 7:30am ET: Donald Trump spent the morning attacking the mayor of San Juan on Twitter.

Original post:  

At a news conference on Friday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz made an emotional plea to anyone who would listen: “Save us from dying.” 

“If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying,” Cruz said. “And you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy.”

She blasted the United States’ actions in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which has ravaged the territory, calling out the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s requests for memos and assessments. “I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long,” Cruz said. 

Cruz called on President Donald Trump, who has faced criticism over the administration’s response in Puerto Rico, to install someone to oversee relief efforts who is “up to the task of saving lives.” The Pentagon announced on Thursday that it would send three-star Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan to manage military relief efforts. Buchanan, who had been a commander for Army North, said on Friday that the current federal efforts have not been enough. 

On Friday, before he set out for a weekend at his golf club in New Jersey, President Trump praised ongoing recovery efforts at a time of “total devastation.”

“The loss of life, it’s always tragic,” Trump said. “But it’s been incredible. The results that we’ve had with respect to loss of life. People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking.”

Just a day earlier, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke said she considered the federal relief efforts so far a “good news story” and expressed satisfaction with the work done up to this point—something that startled Cruz. When asked about it on CNN’s “New Day,” Cruz criticized Dukes’ remarks, calling them upsetting and “irresponsible.” “Dammit this is not a good news story,” Cruz said. “This is a people are dying story.”

On Friday, Duke stepped back from her earlier remarks, telling reporters at a press conference in San Juan, “Clearly, the situation here in Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane is not satisfactory.”   

We Recommend


Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.