The Mayor of San Juan accused President Trump of genocide for his reaction to Hurricane Maria, yet Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera, whose father is Puerto Rican, paints a very different picture.
While most mainstream media journalists are reporting on the devastation of Hurricane Maria from the safety of their own home, Fox News‘ Geraldo Rivera traveled to Puerto Rico to get a first-hand look at the devastation. Carmen Yulín Cruz, the frantic mayor of San Juan, accused President Trump of potential genocide while speaking with reporters last Friday. “We are dying here,” Mayor Cruz said at a press conference. However, according to Rivera, “I’ve been traveling around, I don’t see people dying.”
Mayor Cruz sparked controversy late last week at a hectic press conference where she suggested President Trump was responsible for the deaths caused by Hurricane Maria. The Guardian reports Cruz saying, “Mr. Trump, I am begging you to take charge and save lives. After all, that is one of the founding principles of the United States of … America. If not, the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of,” she threatened, adding, “what we are going to see is something close to a genocide.”
Yet, when Rivera questioned the mayor on her impassioned plea, her stare went blank and jaw dropped.
“Are people dying?” he asked Cruz, adding that none of the local doctors he has spoken with have witnessed any deaths.
“Dying is a continuum,” Cruz contended. “If you don’t get fed for seven-eight days, and you’re a child, you are dying.”
When Cruz appeared on television with a custom made t-shirt declaring “help us / we are dying” it painted a vivid picture of mass deaths that continued to mount as the island attempts to recover. In reality, the death count has remained static since the storm first hit. “The death count is 16 and has been 16 since the storm. I could find no one dying,” explained Rivera.
So, Cruz was exaggerating; she said people are dying when she meant to say that people could die. Despite this distinction, the mayor refused to rephrase her remarks. “I said it the way it is,” she explained, “I don’t have to characterize anything, in any way, that is not the reality.”
“She was highly critical of President Trump,” Rivera said about the mayor in the interview, adding, “she is very partisan … I think she has a loathing for Donald Trump, and in her mind, somehow, dismisses the effect of two historic back to back storms.”
Geraldo Rivera is not the only one accusing Cruz of playing politics. The Washington Examiner reports that Mayor Angel Perez Otero, from the neighboring community of Secrets, Guaynabo, says that Cruz is simply playing politics.
In the wake of two hurricanes that punished Puerto Rico, it appears some elected officials on the devastated island are being political opportunists. Is it wrong for politics to be a part of hurricane relief and recovery?
“There is a lot of politics in Puerto Rico,” he said, adding that the Trump administration has been overwhelmingly responsive to his requests for aid. He also mentioned that Mayor Cruz has not attended any of the meetings with American military and FEMA officials about the recovery effort. “I’ve seen other mayors participating. She’s not,” he said.
It is disheartening to see elected public servants playing tawdry political games during a time when they need to serve the people they were elected to serve. This is a perfect example.