SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — When Hurricane Maria destroyed the infrastructure of Puerto Rico, it turned the mayor of its capital city into a spokeswoman for a stranded people.

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto told the world of the “horror” she was seeing as she waded through San Juan’s flooded streets. And the desperation on the island, parts of which may remain without power for months.

Until then, Cruz had not been a well-known politician outside the island.

But after she criticized Washington’s response to the hurricane this week — “save us from dying,” she pleaded on cable network — President Trump took direct aim at her on Twitter.

“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan,” he wrote Saturday. Democrats must have told her to say nasty things about him, he claimed.

Since the president brought it up, we present below the historical record of the leadership of Cruz, before and after the storm.

Cruz hugs a resident of a seniors home after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. (Thais Llorca/European Pressphoto Agency-EFE)

The island

Cruz has, in some ways, been a lifelong politician: class president in eighth grade; student council president in high school.

Like many Puerto Ricans, she left the island to pursue opportunities on the  mainland, earning a bachelor’s in political science at Boston University and a master’s in public management and policy at Carnegie Mellon.

She stayed on the mainland for many years, according to her official biography, and worked her way up to the position of human resources director at several companies, including Scotiabank and the U.S. Treasury Department.

In a 2014 interview with a small New York newspaper, Cruz described the tug of war she and other Puerto Ricans often feel between the mainland and their home island.

“I often say to my friends that I felt too Puerto Rican to live in the States; then I felt too American to live in Puerto Rico,” she said. “So when I settled back in Puerto Rico in 1992, I had to come to terms with all of that.”

After 12 years on the mainland, Cruz returned to her island to plunge back into politics.

She became an adviser to Sila María Calderón, a San Juan mayor who later became Puerto Rico’s only female governor.

With the experience she gained under Calderón, Cruz ran in 2000 for a seat in Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives. She lost that race, but in 2008 she ran again and won.

“Politics is a rough game, and sometimes as females we are taught that you have to play nice,” she said in a 2014 interview. “Sometimes you can’t play nice.”

A new mayor

As the race for mayorship of her home town approached in 2012, she waffled publicly on whether to become a candidate.

At first she denied any plans to run. Once she entered the race, she strung together a series of small coalitions — including the LGBT community, students, Dominican immigrants and taxi drivers — to form a base of support.

Such allies helped her defeat a formidable opponent — a three-time incumbent, Jorge Santini.

“People don’t realize they have the power,” she recalled in an interview several years later. “People don’t realize that if they come together, there are more of them than those who occupy the seat that I’m in right now.”

Puerto Rico’s politics are largely defined by their relationship with the mainland and whether the island should remain a U.S. territory, gain statehood or vie for independence.

Cruz’s party, the Popular Democratic Party, campaigns to maintain Puerto Rico’s status as an unincorporated, self-governed U.S. territory.

But in her trips to the United States since winning office, Cruz has at times advocated for more independence.

She once went before Congress to ask that Puerto Rico — crippled by debt — be able to reorganize under bankruptcy laws, and thereafter enter into commercial agreements with other countries.

“Puerto Rico has been denied these tools far too long,” Cruz said in 2015. “And as long as our options are defined by the powers of this Congress, we will always be at your mercy. The measure of our success will always be limited by the vastness of your control over our affairs.”

Two years later, Hurricane Maria has made the island’s many dependencies all too apparent.

The storm

Maria flooded roads, destroyed phone lines and cut the island’s lifeline of goods from the mainland.

How the Jones Act limits Puerto Rico’s access to goods

With limited communications and little help from the outside world in the first days after the hurricane, the mayors of Puerto Rico became the highest form of authority for many residents.

Cruz worked nearly nonstop on the ground — walking the capital’s streets and doing what she could for those she met. In an interview with a Washington Post reporter just three days after the storm, she described what she was seeing.

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Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz recounts the many struggles Puerto Rico's capital city is facing as it tries to regain its footing after Hurricane Maria. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

“There is horror in the streets,” she said at the time. “Sheer pain in people’s eyes.”

The city’s hospitals had no power. Much of the country would not have electricity until 2018, she said. Looters were already taking over some streets after dark. The few residents who still had gasoline and drinking water were quickly running out.

Cruz had written to scores of other mayors. “There’s no answer,” she said.
She felt relatively helpless — able to do only so much for her exhausted neighbors and frightened constituents.

“I know we’re not going to get to everybody in time,” she said. All she could do was try.

She said that on her way to talk to the reporter, a man had asked her for a favor: “To tell the world we’re here.”

As tears filled her eyes, Cruz obliged. “If anyone can hear us,” she told the reporter, “help.”

By Thursday night, families were searching for water by the light of dwindling cellphone batteries and the moon. They passed through a tunnel beneath a city wall, and found at the exit a water tank left there by the city — a godsend.

And then they found their mayor.

Cruz hugged them as they came to her. She handed to each family a small solar-powered lantern — “a box of blessings,” she called it.

“Now this is life,” she told The Post.

Her people were resilient, she said. Residents had taken the streets back from criminal gangs.

But if the federal government did not step up its response, she feared, “people will die.”

The president

Nearly 5,000 National Guard personnel were stationed on the island before the storm, according to the White House, and the government has sent thousands more to help in the days since. But Guard personnel have struggled to get even basics such as drinking water to those in need.

A call with the White House earlier this week was encouraging, Cruz said. She told the federal government that 3,000 containers were sitting in a port, trapped behind electronic gates that would not open. Since then, more federal personnel had arrived, and the government had sent pallets of water and food.

But her city was still on the brink, Cruz said.

Cruz hands out solar lamps to residents of the San Juan neighborhood La Perla. (Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)

On Thursday, in the White House driveway, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke defended the Trump administration’s response to the storm.

“It is really a good-news story, in terms of our ability to reach people,” the director said.

When Cruz heard that, she made good on her warning years earlier — that sometimes in politics “you can’t play nice.”

“People are dying in this country,” Cruz said at a news conference on Friday. “I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy.”

And with that, the mayor of a ruined city drew the attention and ire of the president of the United States.

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” he wrote on Twitter.

The remark perplexed many experts on Puerto Rican politics.

“I don’t know if Trump’s comment shows an utter lack of understanding of the political situation in Puerto Rico, or if it’s just a cover to rally his base,” said Yarimar Bonilla, an anthropologist at Rutgers University. “It makes no sense. Politics in Puerto Rico are completely different than the mainland, with completely different parties.”

Last year, Bonilla surveyed 1,000 residents of the island. Most had no affiliation with Republicans or Democrats, and many had little understanding of either party.

Cruz, who is widely expected to run for governor of the island, has some understanding.

She is not affiliated with either party but occasionally supported  Democratic President Barack Obama’s policies. During the 2012 election campaign, she met with Obama’s campaign manager to push for health-care funding and education grants for Puerto Ricans.

But that is a far cry from being a tool of Democrats, said Amilcar Barreto, a Puerto Rican political expert at Northeastern University. “Complaining about people on the island not having food, electricity, water is not partisan. That’s just basic human necessity.”

The ‘little mayor’

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.

“The most powerful man in the world is concerned with a 5-foot-tall, 120-pound little mayor of the city of San Juan,” she said.

Suddenly, many others were concerned as well.

Cruz fielded calls all day long from U.S. senators and business leaders. Reporters mobbed her for interviews.

And all day long, her criticism of the relief effort did not soften. “It’s like a clogged artery,” she said of the federal government’s bureaucratic hurdles. “The heart has stopped beating.”

Asked whether there was anything political in her barbed remarks, Cruz denied it.

“I don’t have time for politics,” she said. “There is a mission, and that is to save lives.”

Then in the middle of an interview, the mayor got a call about a generator catching fire at San Juan hospital. She quickly mobilized her staff, barking out orders like a general.

And, within minutes, she was rushing once more out into her city.

Carmen De Jesus uses a flashlight at the Moradas Las Teresas Elderly House, where about two hundred elderly people live without electricity following damages caused by Hurricane Maria in Carolina, Puerto Rico September 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaReuters
A woman stands next to her apartment door at the Moradas Las Teresas Elderly House, where about two hundred elderly people live without electricity following damages caused by Hurricane Maria in Carolina, Puerto Rico, September 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaReuters
In this image released by the US Coast Guard (USCG), crewmembers from USCG Cutter Elm and members from Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, fill portable diesel tanks in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, for distribution to the victims of Hurricane Maria on September 30, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / US Coast Guard / Michael De NYSE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / US Coast Guard / Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS MICHAEL DE NYSE/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
People buy ice at a local ice plant in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, September 30, 2017. US military and emergency relief teams ramped up their aid efforts for Puerto Rico amid growing criticism of the response to the hurricanes which ripped through the Caribbean island. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Coffins that were washed downhill from the Lares Municipal Cemetery by a landslide are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Lares, Puerto Rico, September 30, 2017. US military and emergency relief teams ramped up their aid efforts for Puerto Rico amid growing criticism of the response to the hurricanes which ripped through the Caribbean island. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
A car drives past damaged trees after Hurricane Maria in Morovis, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. President Donald Trump, under rising criticism for the federal response to hurricane-wrecked Puerto Rico, lashed out at San Juan's mayor Saturday for her "poor leadership ability" and said some residents of the U.S. commonwealth "want everything to be done for them." Photographer: John Taggart/BloombergBloomberg
Workers remove dead chickens from damanged cages after Hurricane Maria at Tofrescos chicken farm in Morovis, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. President Donald Trump, under rising criticism for the federal response to hurricane-wrecked Puerto Rico, lashed out at San Juan's mayor Saturday for her "poor leadership ability" and said some residents of the U.S. commonwealth "want everything to be done for them." Photographer: John Taggart/BloombergBloomberg
A man stands inside of a destroyed supermarket by Hurricane Maria in Salinas, Puerto Rico, September 29, 2017 REUTERS/Alvin Baez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYReuters
TOA BAJA, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 29: A damaged home is seen as people deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 29, 2017 in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
People sweep mud from inside an affected business in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Comerio, Puerto Rico, September 29, 2017. US military and emergency relief teams ramped up their aid efforts for Puerto Rico amid growing criticism of the response to the hurricanes which ripped through the Caribbean island. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
People take a bath in a spring under a tarp on a hillside destroyed by hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, eastern Puerto Rico, on September 29, 2017. US military and emergency relief teams ramped up their aid efforts for Puerto Rico amid growing criticism of the response to the hurricanes which ripped through the Caribbean island. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
A woman combs her hair after taking a bath on the Cuyon River in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Coamo, Puerto Rico, September 29, 2017. US military and emergency relief teams ramped up their aid efforts for Puerto Rico amid growing criticism of the response to the hurricanes which ripped through the Caribbean island. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Thais Llorca/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9100227n) People affected by Hurricane Maria receive supplies in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 29 September 2017. Ten days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, the island is dealing with a humanitarian crisis as millions are still without electricity, water and basic necessities. Hurricane Maria aftermath in Puerto Rico, San Juan - 29 Sep 2017Llorca/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock
An elderly woman stands after receiving food during a supplies distributions at an area affected by Hurricane Maria in Salinas, Puerto Rico, September 29, 2017 REUTERS/Alvin BaezReuters
DORADO, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 29: Hurricane survivors lineup at a gas station to fuel up vehicles as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 29, 2017 in Dorado, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
US and Puerto Rican flags wave next to a highway 30 in eastern Puerto Rico, on September 29, 2017. US military and emergency relief teams ramped up their aid efforts for Puerto Rico amid growing criticism of the response to the hurricanes which ripped through the Caribbean island. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
Destroyed communities are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the U.S. territory?s economy that could last for weeks and has many people running seriously low on cash and worrying that it will become even harder to survive on this storm-ravaged island. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Debris is seen strewn around cattle and destroyed vegetation in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the U.S. territory?s economy that could last for weeks and has many people running seriously low on cash and worrying that it will become even harder to survive on this storm-ravaged island. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Damaged boats are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Dorado, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the U.S. territory?s economy that could last for weeks and has many people running seriously low on cash and worrying that it will become even harder to survive on this storm-ravaged island. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
A municipal government worker fills containers with drinking water for residents outside the Juan Ramon Loubriel stadium in the wake of Hurricane Maria in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the U.S. territory?s economy that could last for weeks and has many people running seriously low on cash and worrying that it will become even harder to survive on this storm-ravaged island. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)AP
Puerto Rico Power Authority workers repair power lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Loiza, Puerto Rico, September 28, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
Javier places on his house next to a flag of Puerto Rico, a placard that read in spanish "Voy a ti Puerto Rico" (I come to you Puerto Rico), in Yabucoa, in the east of Puerto Rico, on September 28, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with hurricane Maria, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
View of a destroyed house in Yabucoa, in the east of Puerto Rico, on September 28, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 28: People line up to get on a Royal Caribbean International, Adventure of the Seas, relief boat that is sailing to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with evacuees that are fleeing after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria on September 28, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
This US Navy handout photo released September 28, 2017,shows Marines assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 162, embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), and area residents as they unload food from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Jayuya, Puerto Rico on September 27, 2017. Kearsarge is assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The US Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. / AFP PHOTO / US NAVY / Ryre ARCIAGA / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / US NAVY/RYRE ARCIAGA/HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS RYRE ARCIAGA/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
Hospital employees sort donated canned food to deliver to a nearby shelter for hurricane victims, in Catano, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the U.S. territory?s economy that could last for weeks and has many people running seriously low on cash and worrying that it will become even harder to survive on this storm-ravaged island. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)AP
People charge their mobile devices outside a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. Trump�ordered the Jones Act to be waived for shipments to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico immediately�at the request of Governor�Ricardo Rossello, White House press secretary�Sarah Sanders�said Thursday. Photographer: John Taggart/BloombergBloomberg
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 28: People line up to get into a Walmart store as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 28, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
People queue to get money from an ATM after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin BaezReuters
TOA BAJA, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 28: Hurricane survivors receive food and water being given out by volunteers and municipal police as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 28, 2017 in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO ? SEPTEMBER 28: People waits for charter flights out of San Juan at Isla Grande Airport. More than a week after the event, recovery is slow. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO ? SEPTEMBER 28: Help get in in private jets trough Isla Grande Airport. More than a week after the event, recovery is slow. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO ? SEPTEMBER 29: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, hands in solar lamps to La Perla Residents. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO ? SEPTEMBER 28: San Juan Mayor hand out LED lights to La Perla Residents. La Perla one of the poorest and most violent neighborhood of Puerto Rico struggles with safety issues in the night without electricity . More than a week after the event, recovery is slow. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO ? SEPTEMBER 28: San Juan Mayor hand out LED lights to La Perla Residents. La Perla one of the poorest and most violent neighborhood of Puerto Rico struggles with safety issues in the night without electricity . More than a week after the event, recovery is slow. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO ? SEPTEMBER 28: A family fill up water bottles at a cistern truck in La Perla. La Perla one of the poorest and most violent neighborhood of Puerto Rico struggles with safety issues in the night without electricity . More than a week after the event, recovery is slow. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
COROZAL, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 27: Yolanda Negron and her daughter Yolymar Bernard salvage what they can from their home that was destroyed when Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread, severe damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grids as well as agricultural destruction after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
A toppled electronic billboard lies atop a house one week after the passage of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 27, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
People wait at a gas station to fill up their fuel containers, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 27, 2017. Picture taken September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin BaezReuters
TOPSHOT - A mural that reads in Spanish "Boriken is alive" is seen a week after the passage of Hurricane Maria in Cayey, Puerto Rico, on September 27, 2017. Boriken is the pre-Columbian Taino name of today's Puerto Rico. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
Mario Soler Sr. (R) and his son Mario Soler Jr. survey their destroyed plantain field one week after the passage of Hurricane Maria in Salinas, Puerto Rico, on September 27, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGORICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
COROZAL, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 27: People cross a bridge what was destroyed when Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread, severe damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grids as well as agricultural destruction after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
Ruby Rodriguez, 8, crosses through the Rio San Lorenzo de Morovis with her family, since the bridge that crosses the river was swept away by Hurricane Maria, in Morovis, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. The were returning to their home after visiting family on the other side. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
COROZAL, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 27: People bathe in spring water since they have no running water in their homes since Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
A resident bails water from a flooded home in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Catano, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. A week since the passing of Maria many are still waiting for help from anyone from the federal or Puerto Rican government. But the scope of the devastation is so broad, and the relief effort so concentrated in San Juan, that many people from outside the capital say they have received little to no help. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)AP
People wait in lines to take mony from an ATM in Humacao, in the east of Puerto Rico, on September 27, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
A supermarket worker collects food requested by buyers in a supermarket in Humacao, in the east of Puerto Rico, on September 27, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
A telephone technician tries to repair the lines in Punta Santiago, Humacao, in the east of Puerto Rico, on September 27, 2017, one week after the passage of Hurricane Maria. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
A man with gas cans walks past a long line of cars as people queue up to buy gas in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Morovis, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. A week since the passing of Maria many are still waiting for help from anyone from the federal or Puerto Rican government. But the scope of the devastation is so broad, and the relief effort so concentrated in San Juan, that many people from outside the capital say they have received little to no help. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Women help each other onto the river bank after wading across the Rio St. Lorenzo de Morovis, after the bridge traversing the river was washed away by Hurricane Maria, in the aftermath of the storm in Morovis, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. A week since the passing of Maria many are still waiting for help from anyone from the federal or Puerto Rican government. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Vehicles travel along a dark street in an area without electricity after Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Trump�ordered the Jones Act to be waived for shipments to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico immediately�at the request of Governor�Ricardo Rossello, White House press secretary�Sarah Sanders�said Thursday. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/BloombergBloomberg
Nelida Trinidad walks around her destroyed home in Montebello, Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Five days after the Category 4 storm slammed into Puerto Rico, many of the more than 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory were still without adequate food, water and fuel. Flights off the island were infrequent, communications were spotty and roads were clogged with debris. Officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Maribel Valentin Espino sits in her hurricane-destroyed home in Montebello, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Five days after the Category 4 storm slammed into Puerto Rico, many of the more than 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory were still without adequate food, water and fuel. Flights off the island were infrequent, communications were spotty and roads were clogged with debris. Officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Ysamar Figueroa carrying her son Saniel, looks at the damage in the neighbourhood after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria, in Canovanas, Puerto Rico September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia RawlinsReuters
Jose Garcia Vicente walks through rubble of his destroyed home, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. The U.S. ramped up its response Monday to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico while the Trump administration sought to blunt criticism that its response to Hurricane Maria has fallen short of it efforts in Texas and Florida after the recent hurricanes there. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
People stand in line to withdraw cash from an automatic teller machine (ATM) after Hurricane Maria heavily damaged the government-run electricity system in the Miramar neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. President�Donald Trump�said he will travel to Puerto Rico to survey damage. He told reporters that the federal government is "doing a really good job" in relief efforts and has shipped "massive amounts" of food and water. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/BloombergBloomberg
People queue to fill containers with water from a tank truck at an area hit by Hurricane Maria in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, September 26, 2017. Picture taken on September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia RawlinsReuters
Melvin Rodriguez showers with water from a well on a street after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, September 26, 2017. Picture taken on September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia RawlinsReuters
A woman cleans her house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Canovanas, Puerto Rico September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia RawlinsReuters
Myriam Rivera and her family rebuild their house destroyed by Hurricane Maria in the neigborhood of Acerolas in Toa Alto, Puerto Rico, on September 26, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
Wilson Hernandez and his family rebuild their house destroyed by Hurricane Maria in the neigborhood of Acerolas in Toa Alto, Puerto Rico, on September 26, 2017. The US island territory, working without electricity, is struggling to dig out and clean up from its disastrous brush with the hurricane, blamed for at least 33 deaths across the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMALHECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty Images
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 26: Edgar Morales sits and waits in line to get gas as he deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 26, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage, including most of the electrical, gas and water grid after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, devastated the island. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 26: Semiramis Colon her child, Keylianis Rodas, wait in line to get into a grocery store as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 26, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage, including most of the electrical, gas and water grid after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, devastated the island. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
Down trees rest on tombs at the cemetery of Lares after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Gov. Governor Ricardo Rossello and Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez, the island?s representative in Congress, have said they intend to seek more than a billion in federal assistance and they have praised the response to the disaster by President Donald Trump, who plans to visit Puerto Rico next week, as well as FEMA Administrator Brock Long. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)AP
Neighbors sit on a couch outside their destroyed homes as sun sets in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Governor Ricardo Rossello and Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez, the island?s representative in Congress, have said they intend to seek more than a billion in federal assistance and they have praised the response to the disaster by President Donald Trump, who plans to visit Puerto Rico next week, as well as FEMA Administrator Brock Long. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Nestor Serrano walks on the upstairs floor of his home, where the walls were blown off, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Governor Ricardo Rossello and Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez, the island?s representative in Congress, have said they intend to seek more than a billion in federal assistance and they have praised the response to the disaster by President Donald Trump, who plans to visit Puerto Rico next week, as well as FEMA Administrator Brock Long. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)AP
Destroyed homes and vehicles sit in floodwaters after Hurricane Maria in this aerial photograph taken above Hamacao, Puerto Rico, on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean island last week, knocking out electricity throughout the island. The territory is facing weeks, if not months, without service as utility workers repair�power�plants and lines that were already falling apart. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/BloombergBloomberg
Destroyed homes sit surrounded by debris from Hurricane Maria in this aerial photograph taken above La Perla in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean island last week, knocking out electricity throughout the island. The territory is facing weeks, if not months, without service as utility workers repair�power�plants and lines that were already falling apart. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/BloombergBloomberg
People stand in a bar damaged from Hurricane Maria in this aerial photograph taken above La Perla, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean island last week, knocking out electricity throughout the island. The territory is facing weeks, if not months, without service as utility workers repair�power�plants and lines that were already falling apart. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/BloombergBloomberg
FILE PHOTO: A woman carries bottles of water and food during a distribution of relief items, after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez/File PhotoReuters
Photo Gallery: After the Category 4 hurricane slammed into Puerto Rico, many of the more than 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory were still without, adequate food, water, electricity and fuel. Flights off the island were infrequent, communications were spotty and roads were clogged with debris.

Hernandez and Schmidt reported from Puerto Rico. Selk and Wan reported from Washington.