Latino GOP leader pans Trump’s handling of Puerto Rico crisis

Ruben Estrada is a longtime Republican activist, a party loyalist and conservative who says he has faithfully supported President Trump since he took office. But as chairman of the Latino National Republican Coalition of New York State, and as someone whose parents and cousins are living with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, he couldn’t hold back his anger at Trump’s handling of the devastation on that island.

The Monroe resident reached out to the Times Herald-Record to voice his dismay, ticking off a litany of words and actions by Trump that he found disrespectful and that he said had “crossed a line.” The delay in lifting the Jones Act to let foreign ships bring supplies. The grousing about how much the storm relief would cost the U.S. The comparison to the greater number of deaths that Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005.

And then there was Trump’s casual lobbing of paper-towel rolls to hurricane victims at a relief center in San Juan.

“Maybe he should have thrown mops,” Estrada said. “That would have been more effective.”

Trump’s willingness to snipe at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz in the midst of her city’s crisis also bothered him. Estrada, who is involved with the Helping Hands for Puerto Rico relief effort, calls himself a “party person,” but says his view of the Republican president has changed.

“He’s really disappointed me, and I hope the party makes some decisions with this man,” Estrada said.

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    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full

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