03 Oct 2017

Trump called her weak, but viewed from Europe, Carmen Cruz appears to have cleverly fooled him

Could it be, that when Carmen Cruz went on TV and said, "I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island," she knew EXACTLY what she was doing?

Editorial Team
Editorial Team NewsMavens, Europe
Source: Washington Post
Trump called her weak, but viewed from Europe, Carmen Cruz appears to have cleverly fooled him - NewsMavens
Carmen Cruz

Why this story matters:

When hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, a US territory, the flooding and damage to infrastructure were so widespread that local authorities began warning of impending humanitarian crises. Among them was Carmen Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico's capital city, San Juan.

Cruz issued a plea for aid on cable TV and said the US was not doing enough to support Puerto Rico.

"I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island..." said Cruz on NBC news.

US President Donald Trump responded by tweeting that Cruz was showing weak leadership.

A heated debate ensued around how much aid the situation called for and whether the USA was doing as much for Puerto Rico as it did for states hit by hurricanes earlier this season. Sadly, there was no heated discussion about leadership.

But looking on from across that Atlantic, I noticed something interesting.

Once accused by Cruz of dropping the ball, Trump snapped his attention away from the kneeling NFL players he’d been obsessing over all weekend and focused it squarely on Puerto Rico. His twitter feed grew rich with concern and praise, the aid effort intensified, and tomorrow he and Melania are scheduled to visit Puerto Rico to show support.

This much-needed aid was funneled to Puerto Rico because Cruz identified the best source of support and found, intuitively or intentionally, a quick and effective way to get it.

Blinded by the "unsightliness" of an authority figure asking for help, Trump -- and his supporters -- missed the fact that San Juan’s mayor was, perhaps, simply calling him out. Calling him out of his daze over NFL players, out of his careless, uneven support for people under US jurisdiction in need of their government's help, and out of his comfort zone, in which no one is accusing him of being subpar.

Washington Post journalists on the Puerto Rican beat published a fantastic piece on Cruz that neatly demonstrates her concern with how she made the president feel: “On Saturday, Cruz dismissed Trump's tweets with a smile. She was dressed in combat boots and cargo pants as she oversaw the distribution of supplies from San Juan,” they write. 

Now THAT is real leadership.

Details from the story:

  • Cruz has a bachelor's in political science at Boston University and a master's in public management and policy from Carnegie Mellon
  • After 12 years on the United States mainland, she returned to Puerto Rico and entered politics
  • She advised Sila María Calderón, a San Juan mayor
  • In 2008 she won a seat in Puerto Rico's House of Representatives
  • She became mayor of San Juan in 2012
  • Cruz has been making a stand for Congress to allow Puerto Rico greater economic freedom
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