The White House has said that a Puerto Rican mayor dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria “might be too busy doing TV” to meet with Donald Trump during his visit to the island on Tuesday.
The response follows sharp criticism by Trump of the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. Cruz has maintained in media appearances that her city, the capital and largest city in Puerto Rico, desperately needs more assistance than the Trump administration has provided in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
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Trump lashed out at Cruz on Saturday in a series of tweets.
“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.”
Asked if Trump would meet with Cruz when he visits Puerto Rico on Tuesday, a White House official said they were “not sure.”
“She has been invited to FEMA command center several times to see operations and be part of efforts but so far has refused to come, maybe too busy doing TV?” the White House official told ABC News.
Asked a WH official if POTUS has plans to meet with the Mayor of San Juan Tuesday and got this response –> pic.twitter.com/Vo5CYamuMR
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) September 30, 2017
Trump’s administration is defending their response to what some officials in Puerto Rico are calling an imminent humanitarian disaster. Thousands remain without electricity or drinking water on the island in Maria’s wake. The sense of urgency over the island’s plight is growing this weekend as officials appear on news media and celebrities pick up the cause.