Politics

Trump unloads on 'corrupt' Puerto Rico as Tropical Storm Dorian threatens island — San Juan mayor tells him to 'calm down'

Key Points
  • President Trump bears down on Puerto Rico as Tropical Storm Dorian threatens to hit the island.
  • Trump was criticized for his administration's handling of the crisis response to the island in the aftermath of Maria in 2017, the last powerful storm to hit the island.
  • "And by the way, I'm the best thing that's ever happened to Puerto Rico!" he tweets.
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Tropical Storm Dorian heads toward Puerto Rico, may hit Florida next

President Donald Trump bore down on Puerto Rico on Wednesday as Tropical Storm Dorian threatened to become the first powerful storm to hit the island since it was devastated by Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.

"Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

"And by the way, I'm the best thing that's ever happened to Puerto Rico!" he added.

Trump was criticized for his administration's handling of the crisis response to Maria, a Category 5 hurricane that struck in September 2017. One study commissioned by the island and performed by George Washington University researchers estimated the storm caused nearly 3,000 deaths.

Trump has since lashed out against Puerto Rico's leadership, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, over funding issues and other matters.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday posted a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning for parts of Puerto Rico through Thursday afternoon. It said Dorian could bring up to 10 inches of rain and winds up to 80 mph. 

The president wrote that the White House was "tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico." He also took a slap at Cruz, who has been a sharp critic of Trump.

"FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You - Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!" he wrote.

The island's newly installed governor, Wanda Vazquez Garced, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cruz, in a post on Twitter, said: "Trump needs to be quite, 'calm down' get out of the way and make way for those of us who are actually doing the work on the ground. Maybe Trump will understand this time around THIS IS NOT ABOUT HIM; THIS IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS; THIS IS ABOUT SAVING LIVES."

Puerto Rico was shaken in recent weeks by a scandal involving leaked text messages between the island's former governor, Ricardo Rossello, and members of his staff and others.

The messages, nearly 900 pages of which were published by Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism, appeared to show Rossello and his close advisors using vulgar language and ridiculing supporters and vicitms of Hurricane Maria.

Rossello eventually stepped down after hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest.