- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2017

As President Trump headed Tuesday to Puerto Rico to survey recover efforts from the hurricane disaster, he said his toughest critic on the island was changing her tune.

“Well, I think she’s come back a long way,” the president said of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who earlier clashed with Mr. Trump over the federal response.

Ms. Cruz, who has said the federal government was “killing us with inefficiency,” is scheduled to attend a briefing Tuesday with Mr. Trump in Puerto Rico.

“I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done, and people are looking at that,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he departed the White House. “In Texas and in Florida, we get an A+. And I’ll tell you what, I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico, and it’s actually a much tougher situation.”

He added, “But now the roads are cleared, communications is starting to come back. We need their truck drivers to start driving trucks.”

The Category 4 storm that hit Puerto Rico Sept. 20 nearly decimated the island, knocking out power, communications and transportation systems.

Nearly two weeks after the storm made landfall in Puerto Rico, power is still out for 95 percent of electricity customers and much of the countryside lacks access to life-sustaining basics, including food and fresh water.

Last week, Mr. Trump responded to Ms. Cruz with criticism of his own.

“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” he wrote on Twitter.

He also accused the news media, specifically CNN and NBC, of undermining recovery effort with overly negative reports.

However, the Trump administration’s effort took a hit Tuesday from Oxfam, an international organization that fights poverty and rarely criticizes wealthy nations such as the U.S. during a crisis.

“Oxfam has monitored the response in Puerto Rico closely, and we are outraged at the slow and inadequate response the US government has mounted in Puerto Rico,” Oxfam America President Abby Maxman said in a statement. “Clean water, food, fuel, electricity, and health care are in desperately short supply and quickly dwindling, and we’re hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response.”

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