San Juan mayor to Trump: 'How many deaths of Puerto Ricans will be enough?'

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Tuesday asked 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 "how many deaths of Puerto Ricans will be enough” for him to take meaningful action after reports emerged that the president is seeking cuts to federal funding for the island.

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Trump asked top aides for ways to limit Puerto Rico’s federal funding during a Feb. 22 meeting to discuss Department of Housing and Urban Development grants.

The island continues to deal with the aftermath of the destruction left by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and delays in food stamp funding.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The president continues to show his vindictive behavior towards Puerto Rico, and he continues to make the humanitarian crisis worse,” Cruz said in an appearance on CNN. “What we’re talking about is a gap of $600 million that is needed to feed Puerto Rico, so he wants to huff and puff just like he was King Kong, but what he’s doing really is he is ensuring that people don’t have food on the table.”

Puerto Rico, Cruz said, continues to recover from a “devastating situation that [Trump] made worse,” noting that 1.3 million Puerto Ricans, about 43 percent of the population, receive some form of nutritional assistance. Trump, she said, “continues to be too stubborn to do what is right.”

Cruz reminded CNN's Anderson Cooper of Trump’s remarks after the hurricane that Puerto Rico had “thrown our budget a little out of whack” and suggested he blames the U.S. territory for the aftermath of the crisis reflecting poorly on him.

Cruz has frequently criticized Trump for his handling of the hurricane, calling it “Trump’s Katrina” last September.

The official death count for the hurricane, including those who were unable to receive assistance and medical treatment in its aftermath, currently sits at 2,975. Trump has claimed without evidence that Democrats “inflated” the figure with unrelated deaths.