US President Donald Trump hasn’t made many friends in Puerto by his absence from the hurricane wrecked island and insulting tweets. So, when he finally arrives Tuesday he will have some explaining to do.
Puerto Ricans have reacted harshly to his tweets claiming leaders of the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island “want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”
Several Puerto Ricans have told CNN they stand behind San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who apparently provoked the Trump tweet with a call for more aid.
“I’m amazed that he has the gall to say Puerto Ricans expect everything to be done for them,” said Griselmarie Alemar now of Stratford, Connecticut. “They are working exhaustively to lift themselves up. We are citizens. We pay taxes. We serve in the military.”
Across all of the mainland US, various food and donation drives have been held throughout the past couple of weeks, hoping to get aid to those who need it.
“The Puerto Rican community,” says Abner Breban of Atlanta, “has come together like never in the city of Atlanta.” Breban has started a Facebook group called “Atlanta Levanta a Puerto Rico,” which aims to help organizations in their efforts to collect, organize and distribute donations for the island.
Speaking from San Juan, Renee Acosta said, “If he’s not here, he shouldn’t be criticizing the community efforts.”
“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico, took his shot on Twitter, saying: “You’re going straight to hell, @realDonaldTrump. No long lines for you. Someone will say, ‘Right this way, sir.’ They’ll clear a path.” The President stirred things up with a series of tweets Saturday from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending the weekend.
The fund-raiser in New York, Bronx Borough President Rubens Diaz Jr. also lashed out at the President for tweeting instead of taking action.
“What Donald Trump did with those statements today is that it confirmed everything that people were thinking about him,” Diaz said. “And it’s just that he … doesn’t care, or he’s just sophomoric, and just wants to continue to have these Twitter wars. There’s no time for that.”
Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico 10 days ago, killing at least 16 people. Federal Emergency Management Agency official de la Campa said only 5 percent of electricity had been restored in the island. He said 33 percent of the telecommunications infrastructure is back up and close to 50 percent of water services have been restored.
Several Puerto Ricans also said the island hasn’t received the same kind of response as Houston and Florida, which were struck by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Gonzalez added that Trump “didn’t say those comments for the people of Florida or Texas and we are as American as those people. He didn’t have this reaction for Harvey or Irma,” said Alemar. “But now he’s blaming the victim. Why?”