By Debi Johnson
The Trump administration is brushing off fresh criticism from the mayor of San Juan over the federal government’s recovery effort in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.
William “Brock” Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on Sunday dismissed the latest pleas for urgent assistance from the mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, as “political noise.”
“We filtered out the mayor a long time ago,” Long said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked about a pair of early morning tweets from Cruz, in which she said she had unsuccessfully sought help from FEMA after the power failed at a major hospital.
Referring to FEMA, the mayor added sarcastically, "Oh sorry they are collecting data."
Last week President Trump in a tweet suggested Cruz is a "politically motivated ingrate." She had made a number of pointed public criticisms of the pace and scope of the federal relief effort after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, wrecking the electricity grid and leaving many of its 3.4 million people desperate for food, water and gasoline.
Trump visited the U.S. territory on Tuesday and hailed the "amazing job" being done by federal officials in rushing in supplies and working to restore electricity and power. The president raised eyebrows when he alluded again to the cost of the recovery effort -- an observation he has not made about the ongoing expense of helping Texas and Louisiana after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma -- and told officials that they should be proud that the death toll had been low compared to that in the "real catastrophe" of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005.
The president repeated his self-congratulatory assessments about his administration's work in Puerto Rico again on Saturday night, in a television interview with the conservative former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, on the Christian cable network TBN.
Since Hurricane Irma the Trump administration claims have failed to match up to what the media was reporting from on the ground across the island.