San Juan's mayor blasts Trump as "disaster-in-chief"

3 months since Hurricane Maria struck, more than 1 million people are still without power in Puerto Rico

By Matthew Sheffield

Published December 29, 2017 6:24PM (EST)

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

One hundred days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and left most of the American territory's infrastructure destroyed, Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of the island's largest city, is continuing her bracing criticism of President Donald Trump for not doing enough to respond.

“Where he needed to be a commander-in-chief, he was a disaster-in-chief. President Trump does not embody the values of the good-hearted American people that have made sure that we are not forgotten,” Cruz said in an interview with ABC News.

Trump has defended his administration's response to the disaster as deserving a score of 10 out of 10.

“I would say it’s a 10,” Trump said in an October press conference when asked how well the White House had done.

"I give ourselves a 10," he continued. "We have provided so much, so fast."

More than three months after Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, only 70 percent of the territory-owned power company's plants are operational. Many people still have to use generators for power.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told ABC News in a statement that it would take until May to get power working throughout Puerto Rico.

Refugees International, a non-profit group that helps displaced people worldwide, issued a scathing report earlier this month, in which they stated that "thousands of people still lack sustainable access to potable water and electricity and dry, safe places to sleep."

The study also found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has done a poor job helping storm victims navigate bureaucratic hurdles. FEMA has also failed to renew a temporary program that is currently providing housing to nearly 4,000 Puerto Rican families who were relocated to New Jersey while their homes are rebuilt.

The slow rebuilding process has led hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans to just give up and move to the American mainland. According to an estimate prepared by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York, up to 470,000 island residents are expected to move out by 2019.

Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via or follow him on Twitter.

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Donald Trump Fema Hurricane Maria Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Puerto Rico