Trump: Puerto Rican leaders tried to ‘blame Trump for everything’ after Hurricane Maria

Trump: Puerto Rican leaders tried to ‘blame Trump for everything’ after Hurricane Maria
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE accused Puerto Rican leaders of attempting to shift the blame onto him in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and attacked the mayor of San Juan as "incompetent," reviving his feud with island leadership.

In an interview aired Monday morning, Trump continued to defend his administration's handling of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico following last year's storm, suggesting that island leaders blamed him for pre-existing issues.

“It was a total mess, it was corrupt — couldn’t be worse," Trump told Geraldo Rivera in an interview taped Sunday for WTAM, according to The New York Times.

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“The storms hit and they said, ‘Oh let’s blame Trump for the electric, let’s have Trump — let’s have Trump fix the electric plant,' which takes a long time to rebuild it, which is a big deal," he continued. " 'Let’s blame Trump for everything.’ ”

The president derided San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as a "horror show" and "totally incompetent person."

Yulín Cruz has been among the most outspoken critics of Trump's handling of the hurricane that studies show left nearly 3,000 people dead.

Trump has remained unflinchingly positive about the government's recovery efforts following the hurricane, giving himself a "10" and declaring it an "incredible, unsung success." 

The president prompted fierce pushback from island officials, Democrats and a handful of Republicans earlier this month when he insisted without evidence that Democrats had inflated the official death toll from the storm in an effort to make him look bad.

The island originally reported a death toll of 64 but increased it to 2,975 after a government-commissioned study by George Washington University.

Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has remained adamant that the new official number is accurate.