CNN New Day host Alisyn Camerota interviewed San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz about the slow relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Mayor Cruz first began the interview by saying she was thankful for a call from the White House and was hopeful rescue efforts would begin taking shape and then Camerota asked Cruz how she felt about Homeland Security Acting Director Elaine Duke’s comments that relief efforts were going well and it was a “good news story.” A visibly stunned Cruz paused for a moment and said, “he said that?” Camerota played the clip for Cruz and her response decimated the “good news story” that the Trump administration has been pushing.
This is truly a must-watch interview. The people of Puerto Rico need and deserve every single resource we have available. Video and transcript are below.
Camerota: We want to understand the discrepancy we are seeing. The acting secretary of homeland security said “this was a good news story about what is happening in Puerto Rico in terms of the ability to reach people. Do you think this is a good news story in terms of reach?
Cruz: He said that?
Camerota: Yes, she said --
Cruz: Is that what she said?
Camerota: Elaine Duke, and she's the acting homeland security -- we can play it for you. Hold on, and let us play this for you and our viewers. Listen to this.
Duke I am very satisfied. I know it's a hard storm to recover from but the amount of progress that has been made -- I really would appreciate any support that we get. I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people, and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane.
Camerota: Go ahead, mayor.
Cruz: Well, maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story. When you are drinking from a creek, it's not a good news story. When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story.
When you have to pull people down from buildings -- I'm sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me. I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns, and then make a statement like that which frankly it's an irresponsible statement and it contrasts with the statements of support that I have been getting since yesterday when I got that call from the white house. This is -- this is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story. This is -- there's a truck load of stuff that cannot be taken to people story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water. If I could scream it a lot more louder ... it's not a good news story when people are dying when they don't have dialysis, and when the generators aren't working and the oxygen is not providing for them.
Where is there good news here? The good news is we are getting heard. The good news is there's boots on the ground. The good news is people from FEMA have their heart in the right place and the HHS people know what to do. For heavens sakes, somebody let them do their job. Let them get the food and the water in hands of the people and then talk about good news. And I’m really sorry, but when you have people out there dying, literally, scraping for food, where is the good news?