By JILL COLVIN
BRANCHBURG, N.J. — President Donald Trump on Sunday scoffed at “politically motivated ingrates” who had questioned his administration’s commitment to rebuilding Puerto Rico after a pulverizing hurricane and said the federal government had done “a great job with the almost impossible situation.”
The tweets coming from a president ensconced in his New Jersey golf club sought to defend Washington’s efforts to mobilize and coordinate recovery efforts on a U.S. territory in dire straits almost two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on Friday accused the Trump administration of “killing us with the inefficiency” after the storm. She begged the president, who is set to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday, to “make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives,” and appealed for help “to save us from dying.”
Cruz explained in a television interview Sunday that “there’s only one goal, and it’s saving lives,” adding that all she did “was ask for help.”
“I know the good heart of the American people and I know that when a mayday sound goes off, they come to the rescue,” she told ABC’s “This Week.”
Trump’s weekend tweets have shown him to be contemptuous of any complaints of a laggard U.S. response to the natural disaster that has imperiled the island’s future. He has repeatedly blamed the press for what he sees as unfair coverage of the situation on the ground, where power and many are still struggling for basic essentials, including food, water and fuel.
“We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates … people are now starting to recognize…