Donald Trump has claimed that Puerto Rican leaders are “weak” and “want everything to be done for them” in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
He played down criticism of his administration’s response to the hurricane by stating that “the military and first responders… have done an amazing job.”
Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, had accused the Trump administration of failing the US territory.
She said that the White House was “killing us with the inefficiency” of its response to Hurricane Maria.
Responding to Ms Cruz on Twitter, Mr Trump said: “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.
“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
Soon after the President’s tweets, Ms Cruz tweeted photos of herself helping the relief effort, writing: “The goal is one: saving lives. This is the time to show our ‘true colors’. We cannot be distracted by anything else.”
Mr Trump had been criticised for failing to focus on the tragedy affecting US citizens and instead calling athletes “sons of bitches” for kneeling during the national anthem.
Ms Cruz said the White House was failing to adequately cater to needs of Puerto Ricans, who are depending on bottled water and rationed food from the US federal government.
Mr Trump has said that Hurricane Maria “totally destroyed” the island and left it with “no electric, roads, phones etc.”
The President also tweeted on Saturday: “Fake News CNN and NBC are going out of their way to disparage our great First Responders as a way to ‘get Trump.’ Not fair to FR or effort!”
“The Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R’s. Shame!”
He said he would be visiting Puerto Rico on Tuesday with his wife Melania and would “hopefully be able to stop at the US Virgin Islands” too.