Puerto Rico residents say San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz exploited Hurricane Maria for political gain.
“We get passed around from politician to politician. They use us and think we aren’t smart enough to know,” said a woman who asked not to be identified, via Fox News. “It’s insulting.”
Cruz’s comments of blame – directed towards President Trump during the initial period of hurricane cleanup – made headlines in mainstream media in the United States and brought her newfound publicity, even though the higher ranking Puerto Rican politician, Governor Ricardo Rosselló, did not share her views towards the cleanup effort.
Cruz constantly criticized the response of both FEMA and President Trump while Rosselló did the opposite.
“You responded immediately.” said Rosselló, when asked by Trump about the federal response, via CNN.
Rosselló blamed logistical issues caused by the hurricane itself for delays in the federal response, while Cruz chose to blame FEMA and Trump.
“We recognize that there are some logistical limitations that we have in Puerto Rico. We didn’t have the ports open for a couple of days. We didn’t have the airports working at full capacity until about a day or two ago,” said Rosselló, via CNN.
But after mainstream media started to pick up on Cruz’s viewpoints, she took steps to grow her celebrity. She hired teams of photographers to follow her around Puerto Rico, showing her in photos trekking through the devastation of the hurricane. She paid $12,000 for her new photographic team, Fox News reported.
“She comes out, goes on television and pats herself on the back,” Simon Menendez, a small business owner in San Juan, told Fox News. “It stopped being about us a long time ago.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 8, 2017
The former attorney general of Puerto Rico, Jose Fuentes, revealed how Cruz’s spurt in popularity, motivated by her criticism of President Trump, ties in with purely political aims.
“She was praising the president for a week. And then Luis Gutiérrez gets to Puerto Rico, brings her the t-shirts and says, you want to run for governor, you need to start criticizing the president,” Fuentes said on CNN.
Fuentes referred to congressman Luis Gutiérrez, a Democrat from Illinois. He hosts a video on the first page of his website criticizing Trump’s immigration policy. In the video he also directly attacks Trump and the first family. His Facebook page features posts that attack Trump and attack Republicans as a whole on the immigration issue, while espousing the Democratic Party’s stance.
“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” wrote Trump on Sept. 30, via a Twitter.
The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017