Trump lashes out at San Juan mayor after touting Puerto Rico response

Trump lashes out at San Juan mayor after touting Puerto Rico response

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President Trump receives a briefing on the response to Hurricane Maria. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz “totally incompetent” Wednesday morning, reigniting a feud between the two officials that started in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Tuesday that the administration’s response to Puerto Rico was “an incredible, unsung success.”

Cruz pushed back against the president’s claim, which followed Puerto Rico raising its official death toll late last month from the storm from 64 to nearly 3,000 people.

“It just goes to the lack of understanding of reality that he has,” Cruz said during an interview Tuesday night on MSNBC.

Cruz also lambasted Trump in a series of tweets.

Trump and Cruz previously clashed last fall after Maria devastated the island, with Cruz publicly criticizing the federal response as insufficient and Trump claiming that Cruz showed “poor leadership” and was being coached by the Democratic party.

The latest back-and-forth comes amid the backdrop of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit North and South Carolina on Thursday evening.

Trump emphasized Tuesday that the federal government is ready to act in the face of the category 4 storm.

“The safety of American people is my absolute highest priority,” Trump said. “We are sparing no expense. We are totally prepared. We’re ready. We’re as ready as anybody’s ever been.”

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