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San Juan Mayor, Yulin accepts Trump's invitation to meet in Puerto Rico

05 October 2017

San Juan's liberal mayor, Carmen Cruz, made statements with an inappropriate position claiming help was not arriving fast enough or in insufficient amount to keep people from "dying".

"Every death is a horror", the president said, "but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous - hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here, with really a storm that was just totally overpowering, nobody's ever seen anything like this".

Having spent time in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and traveled around the island, I can understand why the island has suffered terribly in the wake of hurricane Maria.

Before leaving for Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that "at a local level, (Puerto Rico officials) have to give us more help".

That didn't sit well with Cruz, who praised the administration's staff, but knocked Trump, dubbing him the "miscommunicator in chief" and saying he had a "lack of sensibility" for joking about the island's debt.

"This is about saving lives, not about politics; this is about giving the people of Puerto Rico the respect we deserve; and recognizing the moral imperative to do both", she said.

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He says, "On a local level, we need help, but they really have responded very well".

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, there are now more than 10,000 federal officials on the ground on the island, and 45 percent of customers now have access to drinking water.

Did he misspeak? Yes, but to suggest the president was intentionally insensitive to Puerto Rico's struggle is hardly fair. The Army Corps of Engineers is rebuilding roads and making it easier to get lifesaving supplies to the people who need them.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz described his televised meeting with officials as a "PR, 17-minute meeting".

Reid asked about Trump's encounter with Cruz after the two had a Twitter feud over the weekend, which escalated already heightened political tensions between the two.

In short, Trumps visit to Puerto Rico was a disaster and didn't draw enough attention to the plight of the people.

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"It turns out I was right - gee isn't that a shock", Trump said.

Trump and his wife also visited Navy and Marine Corps personnel on the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge.

The president lashed out at the mayor of San Juan after she criticized the federal response. Trump on Tuesday praised the federal response, saying, "it's now acknowledged what a great job we've done".

The president is expected to spend more than five hours on the ground, meeting with first responders, local officials and some of the residents struggling to recover from a hurricane that, in the president's words, left the island USA territory "flattened". Angel Perez, Mayor of Guaynabo, says his experience with the government has been much different.

This was a point not-so-subtly made last week by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

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San Juan Mayor, Yulin accepts Trump's invitation to meet in Puerto Rico