San Juan mayor: ‘I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying’
The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, sharply rebuked the Trump administration’s efforts to aid the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and delivered an emotional plea to “anyone who can hear us to save us all.”
“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,” Carmen Yulín Cruz said on Friday.
Cruz’s plea comes as Puerto Ricans struggle to recover from the devastating impacts of Maria, after the storm slammed into the island nine days ago, leaving its millions of residents without power.
Aid has been slow to arrive to residents on the island, who are in increasingly dire need of food, water and medicine.
The Trump administration has come under fierce scrutiny from Puerto Ricans and lawmakers for not helping the U.S. territory quickly enough.
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ congressional delegate and the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee on Friday called for an “emergency” Oversight hearing on the disaster response.
“Urgent action by our Committee now could help accelerate the federal response to the devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and make a measurable and significant difference in the lives of American families there,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) wrote in a joint letter.
The president insisted on Friday afternoon federal officials were doing a great job with relief efforts.
“We have done an incredible job, considering there’s absolutely nothing to work with,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“And a very big question is, what are we going to do with the power plant? Because the power plant is totally wiped out,” he said. “There is nothing. The power grid is gone.”
Cruz made headlines earlier on Friday after she issued a sharp condemnation of acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s comments in which she called the federal government’s response to the devastation “a good news story.”
“Maybe from where she’s standing, it’s a good news story,” Cruz said. “When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story.”
She added: “Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a people-are-dying story.”