SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers urged President Donald Trump on Sunday to stop sniping at Puerto Ricans and get to work helping them recover from a devastating hurricane, two days before he was to visit the island, where people remained without food, water or power.
The Republican president said his government was doing a “great job” to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria and took a new swipe at critics who said he had been slow to aid the island, where the power grid was destroyed 12 days ago.
“We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates,” he said in a Twitter post.
Trump faces difficult weeks, if not months, in the U.S. territory. His senior general leading military relief operations in Puerto Rico, Lieutenant General Jeff Buchanan, said they were clearing roads and getting more supplies to people, but recognized “it’s still a long haul.”
Trump has intensified his praise of the federal response after the mayor of San Juan made clear those efforts fell short and American media continued to broadcast images of the havoc and suffering on the island that belied his words.
At the same time, he criticized San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on Saturday and said Puerto Ricans wanted “everything to be done for them.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer told CBS’ “Face the Nation” the relief effort so far has been “slow footed, disorganized and not adequate.”
“The president, instead of tweeting against the mayor of San Juan who’s watching her people die and just made a plea for help, ought to roll up his sleeves and get to work here,” he said.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential contender in 2016, said on CNN Trump’s attacks from his “fancy golf club” on the struggling mayor of a destroyed city were “unspeakable.”
“I don’t know what world Trump is living in,” he said.
U.S. Senator Marco…