San Juan mayor goes off on Trump: "Tweet away your hate to mask your administration’s mishandling"

Trump threatened to cut off aid to Puerto Rico over Twitter Thursday -- and then Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz went off

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 12, 2017 2:53PM (EDT)

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz (Getty/ Joe Raedle)
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz (Getty/ Joe Raedle)

In a text message obtained by Salon, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz blasted President Donald Trump to Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill.

"Stop the genocide," the mayor implored.

After reviewing how the two hurricanes which recently slammed Puerto Rico have left its citizens without water, food, medicine, homes or an electrical infrastructure, the mayor of Puerto Rico's capital city described how Trump's "tweets, comments and actions seem to be taken out of a book on 'how to add insult to injury' rather than a book on 'how to help during a humanitarian crisis'" and argued that his actions were "unbecoming of a leader of the free world."

Cruz also pointed out that Trump's decision to replace the FEMA coordinator in Puerto Rico "is an admission that things are not going the way they should." As she pointed out, "It is not that you do not get it, it is that you are incapable of empathy and frankly simply cannot get the job done."

One paragraph, in particular, stood out as an impassioned plea for decency, a stinging condemnation of Trump's hateful response toward Puerto Rico and a poignant reminder of the tragedy still facing the island's residents:

Tweet away your hate to mask your administration’s mishandling of this humanitarian crisis. While you are amusing yourself throwing paper towels at us, your compatriots and the world are sending love and help our way. Condemn us to a slow death of non drinkable water, lack of food, lack of medicine while you keep others eager to help from reaching us since they face the impediment of the Jones Act.

Cruz also used the letter to plead with the United Nations, UNICEF and the rest of the world to "stop the genocide that will result from the lack of appropriate action of a President that just does not get it because he has been incapable of looking in our eyes and seeing the pride that burns fiercely in our hearts and souls. "

Douglas Rivlin, the director of communication to Rep. Gutierrez, confirmed to Salon that the message "came from her cell phone to my boss' cell phone." Although Gutierrez read a speech this morning criticizing Trump's handling of the Puerto Rican crisis, he did not receive Cruz's text until afterward.

That said, he does plan on bringing it up during an appearance on MSNBC later on Thursday, according to his office.

"Three weeks after D-Day in 1944, the Allies liberated the deep water port of Cherbourg, one of the most important objectives in France," proclaimed Gutierrez in his House speech on Thursday. "It took 20 days and we built bridges and communication lines along the way. We made better progress in the three weeks after D-Day than we are making on Puerto Rico, and in Puerto Rico, to the best of my knowledge, there are no Germans shooting at us."

In a recent interview with Salon, Dr. Luis Martínez-Fernández — a professor at the University of Central Florida who specializes in Puerto Rican history — discussed what policies could actually help the Puerto Rican people.

"First, the cleanup effort — there's a lot of debris and it needs to be moved out of the way. On a small island they will have to find a place for that," Martínez-Fernández told Salon. "Second, speed up a package of relief similar to Hurricane Sandy's. It may have to be larger. The next one? Be ready for refugees leaving the island in large numbers."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa