From the moment President Donald Trump stepped foot in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, he made dismissive and insulting comments about the island and the natural disaster that struck it on September 20. From focusing on the island’s debt to telling Puerto Ricans they no longer needed flashlights (more than 90 percent of the island still has no electricity) to limiting his visit to one of the wealthiest parts, Trump made one misstep after another. But after he left and patted himself on the back for the visit, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz once again fought back for her people and called it like it is.
While Cruz says things have drastically improved in the last few days, she says it’s mostly because of nongovernmental donations from Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York. It’s allowed the mayor to use FEMA donations to help municipalities that haven’t received as much help. In an interview with MSNBC, she also said chatting with White House staff and informing them of what’s happening on the island proved useful. But she had some criticism for Trump, who held a press conference when he arrived on the island. When she told him face-to-face that she’s working to save lives and not worried about politics, he completely ignored her.
“This was a PR, 17-minute meeting,” she said. “There was no exchange with anybody, with none of the mayors. And in fact, this terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels and throwing provisions at people, it’s really, it doesn’t embody the spirit of the American nation. That is not the land of the free and the home of the brave, the beacon of democracy that people have learned to look up to. He was insulting to the people of Puerto Rico, he said something like, ‘Puerto Rico, you really have taken our budget out of whack, because of all the money we’re throwing here.’ He kind of minimized our suffering here by saying that [Hurricane] Katrina was a real disaster, sort of implying that this was not a real disaster.”
In short, Trumps visit to Puerto Rico was a disaster and didn’t draw enough attention to the plight of the people. And as Trump tries to spin a different story, it’s important that this incongruity is addressed. Check out the entire video here.