San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is furious with acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke’s assertion that the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has been a “good news story.”
“Maybe where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” Yulín Cruz said to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “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.”
“This is a ‘people are dying’ story,” she added. “It’s a life-or-death story.”
While President Trump has taken to Twitter to defend the federal response to the crisis in Puerto Rico, Yulín Cruz has found herself walking the fine line between not angering the president and demanding that relief efforts be given greater priority.
“Thank you for calling San Juan … But sir, there’s 77 other towns that are waiting,” Yulín Cruz said on Thursday. “We appreciate everything you are doing and we know it can be done faster.” Yulín Cruz also noted that at the time San Juan had received only 4,000 bottles of water to quench the thirst of the 350,000 people in her city.
More than a week after Hurricane Maria hit the island, the Trump administration finally announced a temporary waiver on the Jones Act, a century-old shipping law that requires goods shipped to Puerto Rico to be carried on vessels owned and operated by Americans.
According to Senator John McCain, a longtime advocate for repeal of the law, the Jones Act doubled the cost of “food, clean drinking water, supplies and infrastructure” coming into the island in wake of the hurricane. Hedge funds and banks that own Puerto Rican debt, meanwhile, have been stingy when it comes to offering aid — in some cases only offering help on the condition that the island take on further loans. Trump has also repeatedly made allusions to the fact that Puerto Rico’s debt must be “dealt with,” even in the midst of discussing relief efforts.
Watch video of Yulín Cruz’s response to Duke below.
— CNN (@CNN) September 29, 2017
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