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San Juan mayor: Trump's words on Puerto Rico are 'utter hypocrisy'

Posted at 10:05 PM, Jan 31, 2018

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz didn't mince her words Wednesday when asked about President Donald Trump's pledges of support to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico during his State of the Union speech, denouncing them as "hypocrisy."

"To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California and everywhere else -- we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together," Trump said Tuesday.

But asked by CNN's Christiane Amanpour about Trump's comments, Yulín Cruz said, "The President has not been with the people of Puerto Rico," and that his words were an "utter statement of hypocrisy."

"Thirty-five percent of our people do not have electricity. Our children are going to school only part time. Half a million homes are totally disrupted, either need to be rebuilt completely or need to have their roof put back on," she said of the damage from hurricanes Irma and Maria, which left more than 3 million Puerto Ricans in need of assistance.

In September, Trump repeatedly criticized Cruz on Twitter after she accused the government of abandoning Puerto Rico. It's clear there's still no love lost between the two. As far as Yulín Cruz is concerned, she told Amanpour, Trump "speaks out of both sides of his mouth."

"On the one hand, he says he wants to help Puerto Rico. On the other hand, he imposed a 20% income tax on every good and service that comes from Puerto Rico into the United States. On the one hand, he says we will be with you for the long run. And on the other hand, the [Food and Drug Administration] is trying to convince pharmaceutical companies to leave Puerto Rico," she told Amanpour.

"He says he cares and he came here and threw paper towels at us," she continued, referring to Trump's visit to the city of Guaynabo in October. "And on the other hand, he doesn't provide his administration with a clear set of goals to help Puerto Rico."

Yulín Cruz also slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which announced plans this week to halt new shipments of food and water to the island by the end of January.

"FEMA said mission accomplished. I do not know what mission they have accomplished, Certainly, it wasn't the mission of doing what they were supposed to do," Yulín Cruz said.

The agency said Wednesday that distribution of supplies already stockpiled on the island will continue.