Donald Trump’s response to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico has been roundly criticized as insufficient, with many calling it “Trump’s Katrina.” On Thursday, Elaine Duke, the acting Director of Homeland Security, added insult to injury by calling the situation a “good news story.”
This morning on CNN’s New Day, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz took the Trump administration to task for their insensitivity.
The segment began when host Alisyn Camerota played a clip of Elaine Duke’s comments, where she said, “I’m very satisfied. I know it’s a hard storm to recover from, but the amount of progress that’s been made — and I really would appreciate any support that we get. I know that it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people, and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane.”
Mayor Cruz took a moment to reply, visibly confused and emotional after hearing the comments. Then she responded:
‘Well, maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story. When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from their buildings because — I’m sorry, but that really upsets me, and frustrates me. I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns, and then make a statement like that. Which, frankly, is an irresponsible statement, and at contrast with the statements of support that I’ve been getting since yesterday when I got that call from the White House.
‘Damn it, this is not a good news story! This is a ‘people are dying’ story. This is a ‘life or death’ story. This is a “there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of devastation that continues to worsen, because people are not getting food and water. If I could scream it a lot more [loudly] — it is not a good news story when people are dying when they don’t have dialysis; when their generators aren’t working and their oxygen isn’t providing for them. Where is there good news here?’
While supplies have been landed on the island, insufficient staffing and damaged infrastructure has made it very difficult to disperse supplies. Around 3,000 shipping containers are currently sitting still because of logistics problems. General Russel Honore, who was put in charge of the Katrina response after the federal government bungled it, had this to say about the current situation, according to Bloomberg:
‘”It’s kind of like Katrina: We got it. We got it. Oh, s–t, send in the cavalry,” Honore, now retired from the military, said in an interview Wednesday. “This is a hit on White House decision making.”
‘“I had 20 ships and over 240 helicopters,” he continued about Katrina. “And Puerto Rico is bigger than Katrina.”’
You can watch video of the Mayor’s comments below:
Featured image via Tom Pennington/Getty Images