Trump risks political storm with ill-timed jokes in Puerto Rico

Mr Trump talks with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello
Credit
Reuters

Mr Trump talks with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello Credit Reuters

Cruz donned the shirt during an interview with Jorge Ramos on Univision's "Al Punto" and said it was in response to remark's made by the president, who described her as "nasty" after she criticized him for failing to provide adequate relief following Hurricane Maria.

The mayor of San Juan proudly sported a T-shirt emblazoned with the word "NASTY" on it for a TV appearance during which she took shots at President Trump's response to Hurricane Maria.

Even if Trump did push the US into a direct role in Puerto Rico's bankruptcy, he would have to abide by the same rules as any creditor or other participant, Spiotto said.

When he levied the same insult at Hillary Clinton during the final presidential debate previous year, it immediately became a symbol of anti-Trump feminists across the country, inspiring a host of "Nasty Woman" shirts.

In an interview with Fox News, US President Donald Trump added to the economic strain of Puerto Rico by suggesting the US overseas territory should default on its debt. Stepping back to rejoin a line of marchers, many of whom waved anti-Trump signs and chanted "Food for the people! If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency".

"I've been to Puerto Rico many times and the weather is second to none but sometimes you get hit - and you got hit", Mr Trump told officials at an Air National Guard base.

Trump has little power over Puerto Rico's debt, which is held by investors, but his comments affected the bond market nonetheless, Larry McDonald, head of the US macro strategies at ACG Analytics, told CNBC.

Citing the logistical and financial challenges of the federal disaster response on the island, Trump quipped: "Now I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack".

Trump visited a church in Guaynabo where he distributed supplies to hurricane victims, including rolls of paper towels. To call this Trump's Katrina moment is an insult to former President George W. Bush. Trump also singled out Gov. Ricardo Rossello for "giving us the highest praise". "And that's fine. We've saved a lot of lives", he told a gathering.

Cruz also slammed the real estate mogul for comparing the death toll in Puerto Rico to that of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "To avoid any further confusion, this information will be posted on our Hurricane Maria website going forward, and will include a link to the Government of Puerto Rico website".

During Trump's visit to the US territory on Tuesday, the mayor and president shook hands.

Cruz responded by saying that she was merely asking for additional help and wasn't saying anything about President Trump. "We continue to support the governors and citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to Hurricane Maria". "They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort", he added in a thread of tweets that sparked a spat between the pair.