Trump blasts San Juan mayor after her tearful ’begging’ for greater White House response

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz charged Friday that the slow aid response and bureaucratic snarls of FEMA have forced her to put out a global “mayday” for Puerto Rico or risk food and water shortages that edge the island “close to genocide.”

“I am begging you to take charge and save lives. After all, that is one of the founding principles of the United States of North America. If not, the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of. Enough is enough,” she said in comments aimed at President Trump, in a televised briefing.

The president, who spent late last week largely praising and encouraging government and private industry responders, didn’t take kindly to the previously complimentary mayor’s pleas in an early Saturday Twitter response, again blaming Puerto Rican infrastructure, and, now, some of its leadership:

Trump had a different tone during his weekly address, trying to offer encouragement for the workers in the relief effort.

In an interview Saturday with MSNBC, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín was thankful for the federal government’s support and said he saw progress.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, and have tentative plans to include the U.S. Virgin Islands in their itinerary, Trump said.

Some lawmakers have been critical of the speed and scope of the response, especially considering warnings that the island, populated with over 3 million federal taxpaying conditional U.S. citizens, would take a direct hit from the storm.

The U.S. Navy dispatched the hospital ship the USNS Comfort to Puerto Rico Friday as government and private groups tried to step up relief efforts on the storm-ravaged island, hit both by Hurricane Maria and earlier Hurricane Irma. The Defense Department on Thursday deployed a three-star general to Puerto Rico to oversee relief efforts, and the Department of Homeland Security waived the Jones Act, allowing non-U.S. ships to carry cargo from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico, despite some resistance from the shipping industry. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Thursday that 10,000 federal government relief workers were now in Puerto Rico, including 7,200 troops, and that 44 of the island’s 69 hospitals were now fully operational.

Read: Gov. Cuomo’s Storm-Recovery Efforts Could Boost National Profile

Trump on Saturday was also critical of the media’s coverage of the relief efforts in Puerto Rico:

Social media offered its own response:

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