Donald Trump's feud with San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz got an unexpected reinforcement today, when Former Puerto Rico Attorney General Jose Fuentes, a Republican, on Sunday took aim at Cruz, accusing her of attacking President Trump and using hurricane relief efforts to lay the groundwork for a gubernatorial bid.
Speaking on CNN's "New Day", Fuentes accused Cruz of making an about-face, saying she supported Trump just a few days ago, until her political adviser suggested the idea of running for governor.
"The mayor of San Juan is a political hack," Fuentes said. "She was singing the praises of the president until her political adviser, [Rep.] Luis Gutiérrez from Chicago, got there and brought her the t-shirts and said, 'Hey you want to run for governor, if she wants to run..." at which point the CNN anchor cut him off, pointing to audio issues, and claiming he could no longer hear Fuentes, handing over the mic to CNN's Democratic Political Commentator Maria Cardona, who unleashed a scathing critique before somehow audio returned at which point Fuentes was once again given the platform, when he again repeated that any logistical problems were the result of political posturing by the San Juan mayor at which point both the CNN anchor and and Cardona doubled down their attack, and so on.
Watch CNN's anchor shut down Fuentes 2 mins 38 seconds into the clip below.
Also on Sunday, FEMA administrator Brock Long defended the Trump administration's response to the Puerto Rican humanitarian crisis, warning of a fragmented response if mayors do not take part in the relief effort. "If mayors decided not to be apart of that [relief effort] then the response is fragmented," Long told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" in response to criticism from the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz.
"What I don't have patience for is the fact that what we're trying to do and we have successfully done is we've established a joint field office in San Juan. And you should go there, you should go see that operation, where we're having daily conversations with all of the mayors, we're working with the government and his leadership to create unified objectives," Long said. "We can choose to look at what the mayor spouts off or what other people spout off or we can also choose to see what's actually being done," he continued.
For those who may have (blissfully) missed it, dominating the weekend newsflow (again), the Trump administration came under fire from critics who said it has failed to help Puerto Rico as it struggles with widespread power outages, collapsed infrastructure and ongoing shortages of water and supplies.
On Saturday, Trump launched a series of tweets attacking Cruz, and accusing the mayor of exhibiting poor leadership in the midst of the recovery efforts and claiming Puerto Rican leaders want the federal government to do everything for them. His tweets came one day after Cruz issued an emotional plea for help, saying people are dying on the American territory and blaming stalled recovery efforts on the federal government's inefficiency and red tape.
"I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency," Cruz said during a Friday press conference, just days after praising Washington's response.
The president is scheduled to travel to the Hurricane devastated Puerto Rico on Tuesday.