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updated: 9/30/2017 9:02 AM

Trump attacks mayor of San Juan for 'poor leadership' amid deepening crisis

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  • President Donald Trump speaks to the media Friday as he walks to Marine One as he departs the White House, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in Washington. Trump is en route to Bedminster, N.J.

    President Donald Trump speaks to the media Friday as he walks to Marine One as he departs the White House, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in Washington. Trump is en route to Bedminster, N.J.
    Associated Press

 
By David Nakamura
The Washington Post

BRANCHBURG, N.J. -- President Donald Trump on Saturday accused the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, of demonstrating "poor leadership" amid the deepening crisis on the island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Trump launched his personal attack on Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz via a morning tweetstorm from his golf resort at Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending the weekend. Cruz on Friday had criticized the Trump administration's response to the hurricane, saying, "I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying."

In a series of tweets, Trump suggested that the mayor was being manipulated by Democrats to "be nasty to Trump," and he called on Cruz to have her local officials do more to help the recovery.

"The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump."

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

" ... Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They ..."

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

" ... want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job."

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

Trump, who is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico and possibly the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday, has come under increasing criticism for his administration's response to Maria. For days after the storm, Trump and his top aides were largely silent as residents on the island struggled for food and water amid widespread power outages.

The White House said Trump will make calls to several Puerto Rico officials, including Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, on Saturday afternoon.

Since coming under criticism, the president has lashed out on social media. He blamed the island's financial woes and ailing infrastructure for the difficult recovery process. He also declared that efforts to provide food, water and medical care were "doing well."

In his tweets Saturday, Trump praised the military and first responders for "an amazing job."

"The military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job. Puerto Rico was totally destroyed."

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

But the president also lashed out at "fake news" television networks, which he accused of criticizing federal relief workers as a way to punish him politically.

"Fake News CNN and NBC are going out of their way to disparage our great First Responders as a way to 'get Trump.' Not fair to FR or effort!"

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

"I will be going to Puerto Rico on Tuesday with Melania. Will hopefully be able to stop at the U.S. Virgin Islands (people working hard)."

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

Trump is expected to visit the President's Cup golf tournament Sunday in Jersey City before returning to Washington.

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