WASHINGTON (AP) — The mayor of San Juan says the suffering in hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico is “not a good news story.”
Acting Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke had suggested as much a day earlier in the White House driveway, saying the federal response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is “a good news story” and adding that “the relief effort is under control.”
But Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of the U.S. island’s largest city, heatedly denied that. She said on CNN: “This is a people-are-dying story.”
Duke was one of several members of the Trump administration Thursday to push back against reporting that the federal government was slow to respond to the storm, which knocked out power and left Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million people short of food and water.
Trump is defending his response to Puerto Rico’s hurricane destruction and says “big decisions” are coming on the cost of rebuilding the island.
Trump is quoting praise from Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, who says the president and the Trump administration have “delivered” for the U.S. territory.
Trump writes on Twitter: “The fact is that Puerto Rico has been destroyed by two hurricanes. Big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding!”
His tweets come after people on the island have said help is scarce and disorganized and food supplies are dwindling in some remote towns after Hurricane Maria.
Trump is expected to survey the damage on the island on Tuesday.
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