It’s been amply established that Donald Trump has mishandled the response to the devastation Hurricane Maria wrought on Puerto Rico like a bad-hands wide receiver. But one of his worst moments in this came with his disgraceful slagging of San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.
You may recall that when Cruz criticized Trump for dragging his feet in getting aid to the island, Trump went into one of his typical 140-character tantrums. He accused Cruz of turning “nasty” on him on orders from Democrats, and claimed that she and her fellow citizens expected “everything to be done for them.” Apparently Trump doesn’t like it when strong, independent women dare stand up to him. Witness his ranting about “Crooked Hillary,” as well as his retweet of a violent GIF showing him knocking Hillary to the ground.
Trump didn’t improve his stock when he visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday. He harrumphed that Puerto Rico came out of Maria a lot better than Louisiana did after Hurricane Katrina. Never mind that 90 percent of the island is still without power, and half of the island lacks access to clean water. He then had several people sitting around the table praise the federal response.
Needless to say, Cruz was not pleased, and let the Donald have it in both English and in Spanish. Her first salvo came on MSNBC. Watch here.
Cruz told Joy Reid, who was sitting in for Rachel Maddow, that when she told Trump that the main concern was saving lives, Trump didn’t even respond. It soon became apparent to her that this was nothing more than “a PR 17-minute meeting.” He never interacted with any of the mayors who were on hand. She also denounced the scene where he threw paper towels into a crowd at a relief center as “terrible and abominable.”
As Cruz saw it, Trump was “insulting to the people of Puerto Rico,” particularly when he compared Maria to Katrina and “joked” about how the island was blowing a hole in the federal budget. As far as she was concerned, Trump was the “miscommunicator in chief.” On the other hand, she believed the White House staff was more understanding. She stressed that people were dying due to the power situation. In particular, “hospitals were collapsing” due to the lack of power.
If possible, though, Cruz was even more blunt when she sat down with Univision’s Jorge Ramos for an interview that will air on that network’s Sunday talk show, “Al Punto,” this coming weekend. Watch here.
Notice the T-shirt Cruz was wearing? It says in English, “NASTY.” It was briefly peeking out from the windbreaker she was wearing on MSNBC, but Cruz apparently decided she wanted to make a statement for the Latino audience. Ramos came to the same conclusion, and asked her what that shirt meant. Predictably, Cruz jumped at it.
“When you’re bothered by someone asking for water to drink, medicine for the sick, and food for the hungry, you have far deeper problems than those which can be explained in an interview. What is truly ‘nasty’ is to turn your back on the Puerto Rican people.”
Translation–if you think that merely doing your job and advocating for your people makes you a “nasty mayor” and a “nasty woman,” then you better look in the mirror, because you may be the “nasty” one. Message received, Señora Alcadesa (madame mayor).
The Univision interview was first posted online on Tuesday night, and went on YouTube Wednesday morning. As I write this on Thursday night, we have yet to see any angry tweets from Trump. Perhaps he realizes that Cruz has him busted.
(featured image: screenshot courtesy Univision via [New York] Daily News)