Trump blames Puerto Ricans for slow hurricane response

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday placed blame squarely on Puerto Ricans for the slow recovery from Hurricane Maria after critics complained that his administration’s response to the U.S. territory’s plight was insufficient.

Eleven days after the devastating storm wiped out power, water and communications systems, more than half of the 3.4 million people in on the island do not have access to drinking water, and 95 percent remain without power, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

“I‘m a ticking time bomb on the verge of exploding,” said Adeline Vazquez, 53, who needs a ventilator for respiratory problems and whose building in the western city of Mayaguez does not have enough fuel to run a generator 24 hours a day.

Maria, the most powerful storm to strike Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years, has destroyed roads, making it difficult to get food, water and fuel around the island. The hurricane has killed at least 16 people, according to the official death toll.

Trump, who plans to visit the island on Tuesday, fired off a series of angry tweets from his private golf club in New Jersey, taking aim at the mayor of San Juan, the island’s capital and largest city.

On Friday, Carmen Yulin Cruz criticized Trump’s administration and begged for more help, pleas that received widespread television coverage in the mainland United States.

“Such poor leadership by the Mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help,” said Trump, a Republican. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”

Trump – who often turns to Twitter to strike out when his government is under pressure – accused Cruz of being “told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump” and blamed the media for not showing the “amazing job” of responders.

Cruz, who has been living in a shelter after her home was destroyed in the hurricane, said municipal employees…

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