The White House has refused to allow the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to speak at a press conference amid her ongoing war of words with President Donald Trump.
The White House invited Carmen Yulín Cruz to participate in a conference call led by Tom Bossert, the president’s Homeland Security Adviser, on improving the federal emergency response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands last month.
However, the mayor who has been critical of the Trump administration’s handling of the storm, was told she could only listen in and was not allowed to talk to reporters.
I was invited to participate in a conference via a text,” she said. “I did. When I went into the call it said you are allowed in a listening capacity only…so I listened.”
Cruz also denied reports that she was invited to meet with Trump on Tuesday, when the president stops in San Juan to discuss rescue efforts on the US territory, which is home to over 3.4 million Americans.
“I read in tweet that someone said I got an invitation to see him,” she told The Independent. “I haven’t.”
The row began last week, when Cruz accused the Trump administration of being unable to “figure out logistics for a small island” and warned that “if we don’t get the food and water into peoples’ hands what we are going to see is something close to a genocide.”
The mayor took an even more aggressive line by issuing a wrenching plea for help on Friday.
“If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy,” Cruz said. “I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell.”
The criticism did not go down well with Trump, who hit back by saying Cruz had been influenced by Democrats to be “nasty” to him.
“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,” Trump fumed in a Twitter rant. “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.”