— CNN (@CNN) September 29, 2017
While President Trump gave a manufacturing speech on Friday, he again marveled (in the wake of Hurricane Maria) at how Puerto Rico “is an island, surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water.” Meanwhile, Friday morning remarks from San Juan’s furious mayor began to call further attention to the Trump administration’s slow response (and the politicization thereof, after the president’s focus on the NFL) to her island’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that she was incensed after acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke praised the Trump administration’s response in Puerto Rico. Duke had also described ongoing recovery efforts as a “really good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths.” Cruz was not pleased:
“Well maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story. When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from buildings — I’m sorry, that really upsets me and frustrates me … Dammit, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. It’s a life-or-death story.“
Cruz also urged Duke to actually visit Puerto Rico before speaking publicly again on the subject. She believes Duke’s comments are “irresponsible,” given that about half of Puerto Rican residents lack potable water, and the entire island lost electricity. Add all of that to the nearly 10,000 shipping containers full of supplies that cannot reach residents — because of road blockages, a lack of fuel, and almost nonexistent cell service — and it’s no wonder that Cruz is upset to see recovery framed as a feel-good, PR story.