San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, known for sparring with President Donald Trump over his response to the hurricane in Puerto Rico, has said she doesn’t “give a s***” about the President’s insults.
“This isn’t about me or politics,” Ms Cruz told PRI’s Jasmine Garsd. “I’m not going to be the face you see out there just giving you a box of food for the photo op. I’m the face of the person who is going to make sure somebody gets that to you.”
She added: “So like the last scene of Gone With the Wind: ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’.”
Ms Cruz has become a target for Mr Trump in recent weeks, following her comments about the dire situation in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria ravaged the island late last month, wiping out power to the entire island and leaving many of the territory’s 3.7m residents without food or water.
The death toll has risen steadily over the last three weeks, to 45 at the time of publication.
Days after the hurricane, Ms Cruz made a passionate appeal to the government for more assistance.
“We are dying here,” Ms Cruz said at a press conference in San Juan. “…So, Mr Trump, I am begging you to take charge and save lives.”
Mr Trump lashed out on Twitter shortly after, calling the Mayor “nasty” and faulting her “poor leadership ability” for the situation in Puerto Rico. Fema administration Brock Long said the emergency relief organisation had “filtered out” Ms Cruz’s comments, adding: “We don’t have time for political noise.”
Ms Cruz seemed undeterred, appearing on national TV in a t-shirt reading, “Nasty”.
“What’s really nasty is that anyone would turn their back on the Puerto Rican people,” she said in the interview.
Mr Trump and Ms Cruz exchanged pleasantries during the President’s visit to Puerto Rico last week, but she sat with her arms crossed at the meeting Mr Trump hosted with Puerto Rican officials. At the same meeting, Mr Trump told the crowd to be proud that the death toll from Maria was low, compared to a “real catastrophe like Katrina”.
Ms Cruz later slammed the visit as “insulting” to the people of Puerto Rico. In her interview with PRI, she issued a thinly-veiled warning to the President.
“If I were a Republican president … I would be very worried,”she said. “There is going to be an exodus of Puerto Ricans to the mainland. And Puerto Ricans vote Democrat. Anywhere they go, they will change the political landscape.”