Obama disaster relief chief accuses Trump of 'malpractice'

Obama disaster relief chief accuses Trump of 'malpractice'
© Getty Images

The head of a federal disaster relief agency under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAfter the loss of three giants of conservation, Biden must pick up the mantle Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy, and the politics of rage Former Obama White House adviser pleads guilty to wire fraud MORE blasted President Trump on Saturday for his handling of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, accusing him of "malpractice."

Jeremy Konyndyk, the head of USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance during the Obama administration, responded to a Washington Post that said Trump and his team "effectively went dark" after heading to the president's resort in Bedminster, N.J., last week for four days.

"He didn't hold a high level meeting on the storm response until Tuesday - SIX DAYS after landfall. This is disaster mgmt malpractice," Konyndyk tweeted, calling the report "so, so, damning."


"Storm played out exactly as forecast. Was clear it would be devastating, and it was. And then....the President left things on autopilot," Konyndyk added.

Konyndyk, who led the disaster relief office under the State Department from 2013 to 2017, said he was furious that Trump's alleged apathy was having "real, tangible, harmful consequences" for Puerto Ricans.

"That has had real, tangible, harmful consequences for the speed and effectiveness of the response," Konyndyk tweeted. "It makes me so mad I could spit."

Trump has repeatedly defended his administration's response to the storm-ravaged island, where local officials have pushed for federal supplies and power after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the U.S. territory earlier this month.

Trump clashed with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on Saturday over the pace of his administration's relief efforts for the island, which is home to 3.4 million U.S. citizens. Local officials estimate the island could be without fully restored power for up to six months.

“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 president is spending the weekend at his golf club in New Jersey, but was slated to hold a series of phone calls Saturday related to federal relief efforts.