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White House press secretary: Trump getting daily updates on Puerto Rico
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Saturday pushed back on criticism of the administration's response to a natural disaster in Puerto Rico and defended President Trump as informed on ongoing hurricane relief efforts.
Trump "has been updated daily on efforts by Gen Kelly and @fema," Sanders tweeted, referring to the White House chief of staff John Kelly and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
She also denied the veracity of a Washington Post report that claimed that recovery efforts on Puerto Rico were hampered in part by Trump's excursion last weekend to his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The Post reported on Friday that Trump and his team effectively "went dark" after departing for Bedminster last Thursday night before Friday night's political rally in Alabama.
Sanders said the Post's story was "false," and that Trump has been receiving "daily" updates on the status of recovery efforts on the island territory.
"WP story on PR is false. @POTUS gave military & first responders 100% support & has been updated daily on efforts by Gen Kelly and @fema," Sanders said.
In the report, the Post claims that Trump spoke only once, briefly, on Friday, with acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke about the unfolding crisis in Puerto Rico, and didn't speak again with Duke until that Tuesday.
"Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis," the Post reported. "Administration officials would not say whether the president spoke with any other top officials involved in the storm response while in Bedminster, N.J."
A week later, Trump would attack the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for her remarks slamming the administration's "ineffeciency" in responding to the disaster. Trump claimed on Saturday that she was taking cues from Democrats after initially being "complimentary."
"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," San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said in an emotional press conference.
Trump called Cruz's leadership "poor" in the wake of the storm.
"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," Trump tweeted. "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," he continued. "10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job."
The island has struggled with no power in the wake of Hurricane Maria last week.
Trump is again at his Bedminster golf course on Saturday, but was scheduled to hold a series of phone calls Saturday related to relief after Hurricane Maria, including talking to FEMA director Brock Long, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossell , Puerto Rico resident commissioner Jenniffer Gonz lez-Col n and the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kenneth Mapp, according to the White House.