New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a church in the Bronx on Sunday, took aim at President Donald Trump’s response to the disaster relief effort under way in Puerto Rico.
De Blasio, a Democrat running for re-election, told congregants at the Promised Land Covenant Church that the president had “a lot of gall” firing off a series of tweets Saturday that criticized the leadership of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and local Puerto Rican officials after a pair of back-to-back deadly hurricanes.
“How dare President Trump denigrate the Puerto Rican people who have done so much for this city and this country,” De Blasio said. “There is nothing lazy about the Puerto Rican people. They’re not feeling entitled; the only person feeling entitled is Donald Trump.”
On Saturday, after a plea by Cruz for increased federal assistance, Trump tweeted: “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
Trump’s tweets were written as he spent the weekend at his namesake golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, and came after a Friday news conference in San Juan in which Cruz told the Trump administration, “We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency.”
De Blasio, who is running for reelection this fall against Republican Nicole Malliotakis and a string of third-party candidates, told churchgoers: “It takes a lot of gall to tweet negative things about people recovering from a hurricane while you’re at your golf course playing golf.”
White House officials could not immediately be reached for response, but on Sunday, Trump once again hailed his administration’s handling of the disaster relief effort in Puerto Rico. The island’s infrastructure was decimated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, leaving the majority of the U.S. commonwealth’s 3.5 million American citizens without electricity and running water.
“We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates,” Trump wrote. He is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico with his wife, first lady Melania Trump, on Tuesday.