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Trump lashes out at Puerto Ricans after mayor's criticism of administration's relief effort

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, left, hugs a woman while visiting a home. (Thais Llorca / European Pressphoto Agency)
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, left, hugs a woman while visiting a home. (Thais Llorca / European Pressphoto Agency)

From the comfort of his New Jersey golf resort, President Trump lashed out Saturday at the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the ravaged island’s residents, defending his administration’s hurricane response by suggesting that Puerto Ricans had not done enough to help themselves.

Trump’s Twitter assault, which began early Saturday and lasted until evening, was set off by criticism from Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who on Friday had criticized the federal response since Hurricane Maria’s Sept. 20 landfall.

“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,” Trump tweeted. He added: “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 federal workers now on island doing a fantastic job.”

The president’s comments were a breathtaking and racially inflected swipe at residents who have labored for more than a week to survive without electricity, running water, food or medical supplies. Media reports have shown residents in the city and villages sweltering in line for hours with gas cans, hoping for enough fuel to run generators. Nearly every hospital in Puerto Rico lost power in the hurricane, though many have crept toward a semblance of operation. Thousands of crates of supplies have arrived in Puerto Rico, but their distribution has been slowed by destroyed roads and trucks and a shortage of drivers to deliver the goods around the island.

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