President Donald Trump was still applauding the federal response to the devastation Hurricane Maria inflicted on Puerto Rico just hours before he was scheduled to make his less-than-triumphant arrival there on Tuesday. The visit followed heavy criticism of the delayed timing of the government’s aid and was nearly two weeks after the deadly Hurricane Maria ripped through the island and left it on the brink of a an all-out humanitarian crisis.
Victims and first responders were scheduled to met with the commander in chief, but there was reportedly one person central to relief efforts on the oft-forgotten U.S. territory who was conspicuously missing from the president’s agenda: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.
The leader of Puerto Rico, who was expected to be in attendance at Trump’s briefing on hurricane relief efforts Tuesday, issued a plea for Trump to “save us from dying” that was met with scorn from the president. True to his form, Trump reacted by openly questioning Cruz’s “leadership” during a time when she was on the ground requesting federal assistance be expedited to get emergency supplies to her constituents fellow Puerto Ricans.
In fact, he was still reportedly resentful of Puerto Rico on Tuesday morning.
It took Trump more than a week to waive an archaic, controversial law that had been preventing supplies from being delivered. In comparison, Trump immediately waived the law after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck Texas and Florida, respectively. The fact that the majority Black and Brown population of Puerto Rico compared to the two U.S. states wasn’t lost on critics, who said it was another overt example of the president discriminating against minorities.