President Trump lobbed insults at the mayor of San Juan Wednesday and told Puerto Ricans to be grateful for assistance as Tropical Storm Dorian bore down on Puerto Rico.
As the first squalls from the storm started to lash the island, Trump founded a flippant note as claimed disaster officials are prepared to handle the coming damage that could hit Puerto Rico “as usual.”
The instructed storm-weary Puerto Ricans to give the federal disaster agency “a big Thank You.”
“That includes the incompetent mayor of San Juan,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. 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!
Trump is still fuming over criticism he has taken for bungling the response to Hurricane Maria, the devastating storm that ripped across Puerto Rico in 2017.
He infamously tossed rolls of paper towels to crowds during a visit to the island as millions struggled to survive with no power or water. He has repeatedly claimed the U.S. has spent far more on disaster aid than it actually has.
Trump derided San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who hit back at him for diverting disaster aid to his controversial crackdown on undocumented immigrants even as hurricane season starts.
Instead of brushing the southwest corner of the island, it threatened Puerto Rico with a direct hit at near-hurricane force and forecasters said it could strengthen further as it approaches the U.S. mainland.
The storm was expected to pass over or near Puerto Rico, with landslides, widespread flooding and power outages possible in what is expected to be the first major test of emergency preparedness since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. President Donald Trump declared an emergency Tuesday night and ordered federal assistance for local authorities.
"Practically the entire island will be under sustained tropical storm force winds," said Roberto García, director of U.S. National Weather Service San Juan, during a press conference late Tuesday.
However, he said the forecast could keep changing, adding that late shifts occur with storms such as Dorian that do not have a well-defined center.
The storm earlier had been projected to brush the western part of the U.S. territory and the change in the storm's course caught many off guard in the tiny island of Vieques just east of Puerto Rico, a popular tourist destination that now lies in Dorian's path.
“I’m in shock,” Vilma Santana said in a phone interview, adding that she’s relieved it’s not a hurricane. “Thank God it’s a storm.”