Ms Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital city, claimed Mr Trump was “disrespectful” to the people of Puerto Rico and the other Americans who came to their aid.
“Where he needed to be a commander-in-chief, he was a disaster-in-chief,” Ms Yulin Cruz told ABC News. “President Trump does not embody the values of the good-hearted American people that have make sure that we are not forgotten.”
The Category 4 storm hit Puerto Rico on 20 September, wiping out power to the entire island and leaving thousands scrambling to find food and water.
Nearly half of the island is still without power now, officials told the Associated Press. The US Army Corps has said power will be fully restored by the end of May.
The Department of Public Safety reported 64 people had died as a result of the storm, but other organisations have put the death toll much higher. The New York Times, citing vital statistics bureau data, reported 1,052 more people had died on the island than usual in the weeks since the storm struck.
Ms Yulin Cruz cited confusion over the death toll was an example of how the recovery effort had gone awry.
“When you do not have a clear and precise view of what has gone on, then you know something is wrong,” she said.
The Mayor strongly criticised Mr Trump’s response to the storm in the immediate aftermath, putting her squarely in the President’s crosshairs. After Ms Yulin Cruz publicly pleaded with Mr Trump for more federal assistance, he called her “nasty” and faulted her “poor leadership ability” for the dire situation.
“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help,” the President tweeted. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”
The war of words between the two leaders has since cooled, and the federal government has continued to provide relief to the island. Government officials told the Associated Press that nearly 14,000 poles have been shipped to Puerto Rico and another 7,000 will arrive in the coming days. Some 3,500 workers are trying to restore power across the island.
Still, Ms Yulin Cruz said the road to recovery for Puerto Rico looks rocky.
“The next hundred days will look like more people moving from Puerto Rico, [more] foreclosures,” she said, “but also the first sparks of light – literally – in order to get back on a new track.”