The mayor of San Juan is using fashion to make a statement to the world, and the President of the United States.
In a recent interview, Carmen Yulín Cruz wore a shirt to own an insult he’d thrown at her in previous days. Donald Trump had claimed the Democratic party told Ms Yulín Cruz to be “nasty” to him — so she wore a shirt with that word prominently displayed.
“This was a PR, 17-minute meeting,” Ms Yulín Cruz said during an interview on MSNBC, while wearing the shirt. She was describing a meeting the President had during his trip to Puerto Rico in which he assembled a roundtable of national and local officials and encouraged them to praise the federal response to the crisis on the island.
She continued to criticise the President’s visit to an aid centre, where he tossed paper towel rolls to an assembled group there, and handed out bags of rice.
“In fact, this terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels, and throwing provisions at people, it’s — really — it does not embody the American spirit,” she said.
It’s not the first time that Ms Yulín Cruz has used a t-shirt to make a political statement since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, decimating infrastructure there, and leaving much of the population without access to clean water, medical supplies, and electricity.
She has also previously worn a shirt with a bleak plea for help emblazoned upon it.
“Help us, we are dying,” that shirt read.
Ms Yulín Cruz later said that, while she did not think the President’s trip personally was much help, meetings with White House staff was much more productive.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says that it has 13,000 federal staff on the ground in Puerto Rico. The response team has been able to get 74 per cent of gas stations operational, 65 per cent of of supermarkets open, and 156 bank branches open. The agency says that 92 per cent of hospitals are open, however Ms Yulín Cruz says that poor distribution of diesel fuel could mean that those hospitals that are relying on generators lose power.
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