San Juan mayor blasts White House for being ‘proud’ of Hurricane Maria response

Camille Fine

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz attacked the Trump administration on Wednesday after the island’s estimated death toll from last year’s hurricanes rose to almost 3,000.


“What came out of the White House yesterday was, ‘we’re very proud of what we did, and very committed,’ ” Cruz said in an interview with CNN, paraphrasing a statement released by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Tuesday night.

{mosads}”The Trump administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect. The Trump adminstration led us to believe that they were helping when they weren’t really up to par and they didn’t allow other countries to help us,” she added.

Cruz added that “everyone” is responsible, also laying blame at the feet of Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rosselló for not doing enough to raise alarms about the high number of initially unreported deaths.

“The governor of Puerto Rico sat there beside the president when he said, ‘Oh 16 [deaths]? You ought to be commended, that’s not a real disaster. Katrina is a real disaster,’ ” Cruz said, paraphrasing Trump’s remarks last year.

“Well, Katrina was a real disaster,” she continued. “And now we have more deaths than Katrina.”

President Trump in 2017 told Puerto Ricans that they would be “proud” of the island’s cleanup efforts.

“Everybody around this table and everybody watching can really be very proud of what’s taken place in Puerto Rico,” Trump said at the time, during a roundtable with experts as part of a visit to the island.

Puerto Rico’s government officially updated the death toll on the island from just 64 in an initial estimate to 2,975 at a press conference on Tuesday, with Rosselló telling reporters that he personally “made mistakes” following Hurricane Maria’s landfall last year.

“I agree that we could be and should be more effective on the operational side … I agree I made mistakes,” Rosselló told reporters. “This could have been done differently.”

“Everybody is [going to be held accountable]. This is a review process … and everybody is going to be expected to make change, and if they can’t make change, then they cannot be in the administration,” he added.

Tags Carmen Yulín Cruz Donald Trump Donald Trump Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló Trump administration

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