Flint mayor slams Trump over Puerto Rico

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
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Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver blasted President Donald Trump for his treatment of Puerto Rico in a letter of support she sent to her counterpart in San Juan.

Trump attacked San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on Twitter last Saturday, calling her leadership into question and saying the people of Puerto Rico "want everything to be done for them."

Weaver said in her letter to Cruz that the president's words broke her heart and his visit this week made wounds deeper instead of healing them.

"l am utterly disappointed and outraged by the lack of active engagement and support from this administration during the recent visit," she wrote. "Self-congratulations and political agendas have no place in the realm of public health in the face of survival.

"We will relentlessly continue to press and demand for this administration and all the appropriate federal agencies to acknowledge and sympathize with your plight, and do everything possible to make the situation better."

The Flint mayor said like Cruz, she had to speak out and call for the government to act in her city during its water crisis.

"This is why I felt a special sisterhood, and connection to your concern for your community, and your desperate plea for action," she wrote. "We cannot sit idly back and allow more people to become infected with disease and illnesses. We cannot allow the slow walking of aid and the tying of victims’ hands with bureaucracy."

In 2014, Flint started getting its water from the Flint River instead of the Detroit system without corrosion controls. The move allowed high levels of lead to spread throughout its municipal water system and poison residents. The switch also resulted in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the Flint-area linked to 12 deaths and 79 illnesses in 2014-15.

Hurricane Maria has killed 34 people in Puerto Rico, and many of its people are still without electricity and only 45 percent of its population has access to drinking water.

Weaver and her city are behind Cruz, San Juan and Puerto Rico, she wrote in her letter.

"The people of Flint stand side-by-side with you, and we commend you," Weaver said. "We send our prayers and this letter in hopes to edify your strength. You must stand steadfast and continue to do everything in your power to save your people."

She finished the letter with the hashtags: "#FLINTSTRONG" and "#PUERTORICOFUERTE," which means Puerto Rico Strong.


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