01/10/2017 16:33 BST

Donald Trump Attacks 'Politically Motivated Ingrates' As Puerto Ricans Warn Of Catastrophe


Donald Trump has lashed out at “politically motivated ingrates” amid fierce criticism of his Government’s efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico after being battered by a hurricane.

A day earlier, the US President had attacked people on the American territory who “want everything done for them”.

The comment was directed at the mayor of Puerto Rico’s largest city San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, who warned the country was facing “something close to a genocide” if the relief efforts were not improved. Trump also claimed she had been provoked by Democrats to “be nasty to Trump.”

The Category Five hurricane knocked out power, cut off running water and killed at least 16 people so far on the island, home to 3.4 million Americans, when it struck a week ago.

More Puerto Ricans have received water and rationed food as an aid bottleneck has begun to ease, but many - especially outside the capital - remain desperate for necessities.

People wade into the San Lorenzo River after a bridge was swept away by Hurricane Maria in Morovis, Puerto Rico.
A debris covered street caused when the Arecibo River overflowed is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Alvin Baez / Reuters

In his latest tweets, Trump insisted people were “now starting to recognise” that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to the disaster had been “fantastic” 

“We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico,” he wrote.

“Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates, people are now starting to recognise the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military.”

He added: “All buildings now inspected for safety. Thank you to the Governor of P.R. and to all of those who are working so closely with our First Responders. Fantastic job!”

Trump previously made headlines when he described the logistical difficulties of helping Puerto Rico by saying it was “an island, surrounded by water, big water, ocean water”.

He has also claimed that the island’s governor Ricardo Rossello has praised the Trump administration’s response.

Appearing on television on Sunday, Cruz explained that “there’s only one goal, and it’s saving lives”, adding that all she did “was ask for help”.

Cruz told ‘This Week’ on ABC: “I know the good heart of the American people and I know that when a mayday sound goes off, they come to the rescue.” 

Joe Raedle via Getty Images
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who lost the 2016 Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, called Trump’s tweets “unspeakable”.

“You know, speaking from his fancy golf club, playing golf with his billionaire friends, attacking the mayor of San Juan who is struggling to bring electricity to the island, food to the island, water to the island, gas to the island,” he said in an interview on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’. “It is unspeakable. And I don’t know what world Trump is living in.”