As the mayor of Puerto Rico’s largest city rallies for more help for the victims of Hurricane Maria, she has also positioned herself at the forefront of a different movement: the opposition to President Donald Trump.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz appeared to own that position on Wednesday when she appeared in an interview with Univision wearing a black shirt featuring the word “NASTY” in large white print.
The word “nasty” was adopted last year by anti-Trump activists after Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, called his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” during a debate. Since then, many activists have dubbed themselves “nasty woman” as a way of identifying themselves as a feminist or as someone who opposes Trump’s agenda.
Trump also used the word in his series of insults launched at Cruz after she criticized the federal response to the devastation in Puerto Rico and made an emotional plea to rest of the U.S. to send more help.
Now it seems Cruz is proudly wearing that title.
For Wednesday’s interview with the Spanish-language news station Univision, Cruz apparently removed a jacket she had worn during an earlier appearance on MSNBC so that her “nasty” shirt was clearly visible.
Cruz confirmed to Univision that her shirt was in direct response to Trump’s attacks on her.
“When someone is bothered by someone claiming lack of drinking water, lack of medicine for the sick and lack of food for the hungry, that person has problems too deep to be explained in an interview,” Cruz said in Spanish, according to Newsweek’s translation.
“What is really nasty is that anyone would turn their back on the Puerto Rican people,” she added.
She blamed the slow-moving aid on the federal government because of its constant request for paperwork, saying “we are dying, and you are killing us with inefficiency and bureaucracy.”
Around the time Cruz made those comments, only 11 of Puerto Rico’s 69 hospitals had power or fuel, and 44 percent of the population was still without drinking water. Cruz had described residents who were forced to drink out of creeks, and dehydrated senior citizens trapped in buildings that were like “human cages” in sweltering weather.
Responding to her pleas, Trump called Cruz’s attitude “nasty,” accused her of having “poor leadership ability,” and claimed that Puerto Rico officials ― whom he called “politically motivated ingrates” ― wanted “everything to be done for them.”
Trump visited the devastated island on Tuesday and said Puerto Rico could be “proud of your people” since the hurricane’s death toll was less than other natural disasters in the U.S. During his trip, he also suggested Hurricane Maria and the destruction in caused in Puerto Rico were not “a real catastrophe like Katrina.”
Hurricane Maria made landfall in the U.S. island territory as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 20. The powerful hurricane leveled much of the island, leaving many of its 3.4 million residents without power, water or food.
Although Puerto Rico’s death toll so far is 34 people, that number is expected to rise, as communication has been down throughout the island and rescuers are still struggling to access remote communities.