Trump hits out at 'nasty' San Juan mayor

Land destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

Land destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

Emphasizing the difficulty of the task of rebuilding devastated areas, Trump noted that the USA territory is "an island surrounded by water".

It comes after the Mayor of San Juan made a desperate plea for federal help.

Trump praised the federal disaster response team that's working to help the island recover, including his FEMA administrator and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who found herself accused of insensitivity after she called Puerto Rico a "good news story" on Thursday. "I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying". Well, Democrats told the mayor of the devastated city to criticize Trump, according to the president.

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

Cruz responded to Trump's comments this morning telling Joy Reid on MSNBC: 'Actually, I was asking for help.

This spat with the San Juan mayor won't be preventing the president from traveling to Puerto Rico with First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday to survey the damage.

"This is a "people are dying" story, this is a life and death story, this is a truckload of stuff that can not be taken to people story", the mayor said on the verge of tears and sounding exhausted.

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Trump was scheduled to speak by telephone to the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, and other officials from the region on Saturday, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency's headquarters in Washington for a briefing.

"Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us" on the massive rebuilding effort and how it will be funded and what to do about the "tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island".

"General Buchanan has said he doesn't have what he needs in Puerto Rico to get the situation under control", she said of Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who's been appointed to lead all military hurricane efforts in Puerto Rico. Drinking water has been scarce on the island, and some communities are struggling with food shortages. "It is not a good news story when people are dying".

'Damn it, this is not a good-news story, ' Cruz told CNN.

Her comments seemed meant to correct the record after acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke claimed Thursday afternoon that a "limited number of deaths that have taken place", and overall, Puerto Rico was "a good news story". Only 11 of the island's 69 hospitals have power or fuel supply and nearly half of the population is without potable water, according to a FEMA briefing issued Tuesday morning. "What you see here with me is not the reality of the people of Puerto Rico".

In response, Trump said Cruz's critiques were politically driven. His tweets re: Puerto Rico are cruel & inhuman.

Those workers are passionate and a "great bunch" but "certainly we will need some relief", Ramos said.

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