Tensions are escalating between President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico’s governor over disaster relief efforts that have been slow in coming for the still-battered island after Hurricane Maria.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he would not sit back and allow his officials to be bullied by the White House.
“If the bully gets close, I’ll punch the bully in the mouth,” Rosselló said. “It would be a mistake to confuse courtesy with courage.”
Rosselló’s top aides told CNN that during a tense encounter at the White House on Wednesday they were warned by senior White House officials that representatives for the US territory were pushing too hard to arrange a meeting aimed at discussing the island’s dire situation with the President.
Despite their requests, Trump has declined to schedule a meeting with Rosselló to discuss recovery efforts that are ongoing nearly two years after the storm hit.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.