Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Tries Calming Critics Of Puerto Rico Response; Puerto Rico Battling Economic And Humanitarian Crisis; Puerto Rico Hospitals Unable To Provide Care; Critics Slam Trump For Slow Disaster Response; North Korea Moved Some Military Assets To East Coast; North Korea Seeks Info On Trump's Intentions; U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis Arrives In Afghanistan; Saudi Arabia Ending Ban On Women Driving. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 27, 2017 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, Donald Trump tried to calm critics over government's response to Hurricane Maria. The U.S. president claims efforts in Puerto Rico has been amazing. Plus, Saudi Arabia said it will finally give women the right to drive. Why the decision has as much to do with economic concerns as it does with human rights. Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

All right. Well, more than three million Puerto Ricans are desperate for help after Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory. President Trump says relief efforts are moving as fast as possible, but some say his words don't match on what's happening on the ground. CNN's Sara Murray reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump laying the groundwork to visit storm-ravaged Puerto Rico early next week.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody has said, it's amazing the jobs that we've done in Puerto Rico; we're very proud of it. And I'm going there on Tuesday.

MURRAY: His hastily scheduled trip coming amid criticism that the federal government's efforts are falling short in providing aid to this U.S. territory that's home to 3.4 million people and entirely without power.

TRUMP: As we speak, FEMA, our great first responders, and all available federal resources, including the military are being martialed to save lives, protect families, and begin a long and very, very difficult restoration process.

MURRAY: Today, Trump pointed to the heavily indebted island's existing infrastructure challenges, saying that has inhibited relief efforts.

TRUMP: The infrastructure was in bad shape, as you know, in Puerto Rico before the storm. And now, in many cases, it has no infrastructure. So, it's -- you're really starting from almost scratch.

MURRAY: But airlines and other groups who have been struggling to provide aid to the island, say it's the federal government's own red tape that's the hindrance. One airline official said a flight left Sunday night is half empty because passengers couldn't be screened effectively -- broken equipment and power failures led names couldn't be checked against TSA's no-fly list. A spokesman for American Airlines also said they had a flight loaded with 50,000 pounds of supplies ready to take off for San Juan, only to be turned back by airport authorities.

The airlines say the number of flights to the island is being restricted and its plan to have 20 planes landing and taking off per day, now down to just two flights per day. The FAA tells CNN, the tower at San Juan's airport is open. But that another federal agency, FEMA, is determining which flights are prioritized for takeoff and landing. Meanwhile, Trump is insisting the government is working nonstop to restore airport operations.

TRUMP: These are airports, these runways are devastated and broken. The airports are broken.

MURRAY: Access to that airport, a key challenge that straining the U.S. government's ability to provide Puerto Ricans with generators, food, freshwater, and medical supplies -- top priorities, according to the chairman of the joint chiefs.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We are doing all we can do right now to increase the troop to put humanitarian supplies, that's something U.S. military can provide. We also are providing some generators and so forth for power. We don't expect them to have power for some time.

MURRAY: While the federal government insists it's working as fast as possible for those stranded on the island without power or means to contact loved ones; the frustration drags on.

SHERRY GONZALES, STRANDED PASSENGER (through translator): I had bought a plane ticket before the hurricane, and I'm here since Friday and I haven't been able to leave. Sleeping on the floor without an air conditioner, it's horrible. And I have to sleep here again.

MURRAY: Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, let's go now to Puerto Rico to learn about the efforts underway on the ground. Dr. Ann Peterson is the Senior Vice President of Global Programs for America, a nonprofit organization providing resources and relief to victims of natural disasters. Dr. Peterson, thank you so much for joining us. We know that Maria has been devastating for Puerto Rico in almost every regard, what's been the impact on the island's hospitals and the health care system in general?

DR. ANN PETERSON, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL PROGRAMS FOR AMERICA: So, I've had the opportunity to visit a number of hospitals and health centers in the north, in the San Juan area, as well being one of the first organizations to get to the south of the island. And what we have found is that most of the hospitals and health centers are physically intact, but they are either not operational because they do not have generators or diesel for their generators, or there is enough damage so that they are partially compromised.

They aren't getting supplies of medicines and medical supplies, so that, again, their opportunity for treating patients is severely cut off. The health personnel and the patients are having difficulty getting to the health facilities that are operational because of the lack of fuel. So, what we have is many, many hospitals, health centers completely cut off from having their needs known, patients knowing where to go, and only partially functional health facilities available to the people of Puerto Rico right now.

[01:05:36] SESAY: I mean, that's incredibly concerning to hear. I mean, if you are a patient in one of those hospitals that have been directly affect by Maria, I mean, what is your day to day situation like? What level of care are you receiving right now Dr. Patterson?

PETERSON: So, the hospital personnel is -- everyone is doing an amazing job. They're doing everything they possibly can within the circumstances. The hospitals are coordinating, they're transporting patients from one to another in order to be able to provide some care. One of the hospitals I went to yesterday had a newborn baby with the neurological condition that they could not treat there. They could take care of her for a few days. And what they needed was some kind of communication to know that there was receding hospital elsewhere in the island.

When we arrived, when Americares came with our satellite phone, we were able to call up to another hospital, arranged the neurosurgeon to be available and then the child could be transported. It was the first time that that hospital has had that opportunity. The same thing is happening with dialysis patients and other critical patients who are need to be identified and moved from basically a primary care setting to a place where they can get some specialty care.

SESAY: So, tell me about the work you're doing. You mentioned being there at that hospital and, you know, having the satellite phones that could, you know, do the coordination to have that child transferred. But what specifically is your mission there in Puerto Rico right now? Tells about your efforts.

PETERSON: So, Americare is a global health and disaster response organization. And we come in and first find out what's going on and what the real needs are and they're pretty significant here in Puerto Rico, and then, we bring in medicines and medical supplies. I hand- carried in tetanus vaccine that protects the first responders and any injury victims. We brought a duffle bag, all that we could carry, and everything was emptied and everything was a need.

SESAY: How concerned are you that Puerto Rico could be looking at a public health emergency? I mean, you know, there's a concern of, you know, rats or decomposing bodies, and all that that could result in, how concerned are you?

PETERSON: So, my greater concern is patients who are on chronic management -- diabetes, hypertension, who aren't getting access to care, and they're OK for a while, but they will become more critical. Or a woman getting to the end of her term needing to deliver a baby and not being able to get to care. So, that's the most urgent. I expect very soon after that, the lack of clean drinking water is going to increase diarrheal disease. The mold is going to exacerbate asthma and critical asthma. And we are in the Caribbean, zika was a problem just a year or so ago and I would expect with, you know, all of the rain and the water that we will see a resurgence of zika and dengue.

SESAY: That is so terrifying for a place that's going through so much already to be worried about that, possibly coming down the road. Dr. Ann Peterson, we thank you for making time to speak to us and good luck with your effort. We will be thinking of you, and we'll check back in from sometime soon.

PETERSON: Thank you.

SESAY: There are a lot of work she's doing there. Well, Michael Genovese joins us now, he's a Political Analyst and President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Michael, thank you for being with us. The president said, he has not been preoccupied with his feud with the NFL. That he has plenty of time on his hands and has also been concentrating on the efforts in Puerto Rico, but the optics suggest otherwise. And optics are important in politics.

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST AND PRESIDENT OF THE GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: And you know, the president's job is to juggle several balls at once. To do that, you have to set priorities and you have to know what comes first, second, and third. You can't jumble everything together. And so, you know, it's legitimate to ask what's falling through the cracks on Puerto Rico. Clearly, the best presidents were able to react to situations and also be proactive. They react when necessary. They are proactive when they can be. And so, I understand there's crisis fatigue involved -- this is the third crisis in a row -- but it's legitimate to ask why has this gone so badly, why is it taking so long? There are some legitimate on the ground reasons, crisis fatigue might be important, but you also have to wonder if this is it's the top priority, which it ought to be.

[01:10:31] SESAY: It doesn't help when he puts his first tweet in some, like, five days about Puerto Rico, and he's talking about their debt, and he's talking about their failing electrical grid. Statements which are true, it's not that those are untrue, but in the context of what is happening on the ground, it seems as if -- to quote some people out there -- he's prioritizing the debt or downplaying the human suffering.

GENOVESE: Right. The first priority is human suffering -- to take care of people in need. You can deal with the debt crisis and other issues such as that later on. That's why I said, you have to prioritize and prioritize correctly. He's not prioritizing and he's not prioritizing correctly. And so, if he's getting bad press for this, he's earned it.

SESAY: OK. He's heading to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, as you know, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Now, you know, we say this often, and you know, when he had to go to Texas. You know, I think I asked you, you know, what are the potential missteps, pitfalls, you know, for that trip. But especially so with Puerto Rico, I mean, how do you view this trip given everything that's come before?

GENOVESE: It's almost become a ritualistic part of the presidency that you have to be the crisis handler in chief, and also the sympathizer in chief. You have to demonstrate, you have to show that you care. People need to feel that there's someone out there looking out for them in this crisis. And Donald Trump doesn't do that naturally; he has to work at it. Some presidents, Ronald Reagan was a master at that; Bill Clinton did it beautifully; Trump has to really work at it. And it's a skill that he has not yet perfected.

SESAY: Michael, thank you. Stay with us. We're going to talk North Korea as well. We appreciate it. So, stand by for us on that one. Thank you. The U.S. and North Korea are doubling down on their threats and counterthreats. Here's the latest in the war of words from President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are totally prepared for the second option -- not a preferred option, but if we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that. Devastating for North Korea. That's called the military option. If we have to take it, we will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul, South Korea. So, Paula, there you hear President Trump, saying if you need be and the U.S. takes the second option of, you know, military path, it will be devastating for North Korea. And then, CNN learnt that North Korea has moved some of its military assets to the Eastern Coast. How much is this raising tension in the region?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, I think what's happening with the movement of assets to the Eastern Coast of North Korea, at least as far as intelligence agency here in South Korea believes, which is what they've briefed lawmakers with, is that when there was a flyover from U.S. B-1B Bombers over the weekend, on the East Coast of North Korea in international waters, but the farthest north of the DMZ that they had flown this century. It appears as though North Korea hadn't noticed it.

The radar may not have picked up that the bombers were even there, that they only learned about when U.S. officials talked about it. So, potentially, that could be why we're seeing somewhat of a build-up on the East Coast to U.S. Defense officials telling CNN that they are -- will be very well aware if there was any more movement as they are able to monitor fairly easily with satellite imagery. We also learned from intelligence agencies that the North Korean soldiers, they believe -- on the DMZ, between North and South Korea -- have been told to report an incident first to their superiors and then take measures later.

That shows that there could well be an acknowledgment or realization that there could be some kind of miscalculation or unintended clash. And so, authorities in North Korea are trying to make sure that that doesn't happen. Now, of course, this is not confirmed. This is what we're hearing through lawmakers from the intelligence agencies. But it would suggest that there's an acknowledgment or realization that tensions are high and it is necessary to try and keep things in check. Isha.

SESAY: Paula, on Tuesday we also learned of new U.S. Treasury Department sanctions on North Korea on a number of individuals and North Korean banks. And on Tuesday, President Trump praised China's leader, President Xi, and said that you know he was pleased and gave him the acknowledgment of making decisions to unwind his financial ties with North Korea. The question has to be asked is whether cracks remain in the banking financial system that North Korea can still exploit.

[01:15:09] HANCOCKS: North Korea is remarkably adept at finding a loophole in any sanctions, in any restrictions on financial institutions. Now, it was eight North Korea banks, many of which have ties with China that have been sanctioned unilaterally by the United States. But this has been very difficult for the United Nations Security Council, for example, in their resolutions to pin down in the past. Many of those countries represented there openly admit that North Korea is incredibly good at finding those loopholes. This is what they have been doing for decades.

They have been heavily sanctioned for some time now, and so they are very swift and very able to change company names, to change the location of a company to try and avert these loopholes. So, quite often when we have these new U.N. Security Council Resolutions, it's not just additional sanctions that these countries are passing. It is also trying to tighten up those loopholes, figuring out how North Korea is still able to access those cash revenues and making sure that any gaps are closed up as well. Isha.

SESAY: Paula Hancocks joining us there from Seoul, South Korea. Paula, thank you as always. All right. Let's bring back Michael Genovese, our Political Analyst; he's still with us. So, Michael, Tuesday was a big day and a lot of information emerged. We heard from Otto Warmbier, that American students who were held by the North Koreans and returned back in June in a comatose state as we were told and later died. We heard from his parents, giving us some insight into the condition he was in. I want you to take a listen to what they said to our Brooke Baldwin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED WARMBIER, FATHER OF OTTO WARMBIER: They considered it a humanitarian gesture, sending Otto home. His teeth looked like they've been rearranged with a pair of pliers. You can only look at the evidence -- a perfectly healthy young American visiting there, an innocent young American comes home with severe brain damage. But it's not like it happened and they shipped him home immediately, it's a year later. These people are terrorists. Kim and his regime intentionally injured Otto.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: I mean, our hearts go out to the family -- the family of Otto Warmbier. I mean, your thoughts on what we're learning about the condition of their son as they tell it, in the North Korea says he wasn't tortured, but their son came home and he was in a terrible state. Your thoughts on that? And I mean, what's the impact of having this information out there now in the sense of the calculation for the U.S. Government.

GENOVESE: You know, on a strictly human basis, this horrific story, it's just gut-wrenching.

SESAY: Yes.

GENOVESE: No parent should have to talk about those kinds of things. I mean, it's just horrendous. We know who's to blame. We know who did it. The question is: how do you respond? I think you respond with as much strength as you can without provoking a military response. So, you have to walk a fine line. And there has been since, really, the beginning of the Trump administration -- a real gulf between policy and rhetoric. The policy has been to step by step increase pressure, which is a rational sound policy. The rhetoric has been inflammatory and challenging and personal.

The problem we're at now is that the rhetoric seems to be driving the policy, instead of the other way around. And that's dangerous because there's a rise in temperature when you need to de-escalate. As we talk about rhetoric versus policy, Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State is heading to China, and he's supposed to be there something, like, Thursday through Saturday. What are your expectations for the conversation that he'll have with his Chinese counterpart? Obviously, North Korea will be high on the agenda. I mean, when he goes there, bearing in mind the rhetoric from the U.S. president, does he sit at that table from a position or in a position of strength or weakness?

GENOVESE: Well, he's not going tin cup in hand but he doesn't have a strong hand to play either. The Chinese for a long time enjoyed the fact that North Korea was a thorn in our side. The problem is now, it has escalated to the point where, if it escalates further, China's position in the region is going to be threatened. The economies in the region could suffer. If there is a problem in North Korea, there could be a massive refugee crisis.

And so, the leadership of China in the region could be challenged, and I think they're sensitive to that. So, in a way, this might be a time for the United States, and the secretary of state to really play a hand here and try to come up with a formula. It may not involve presidency directly, it may involve bringing another third party in, but clearly, China and presidency have to play a part in this. Without them, there is very little hope.

[01:20:05] SESAY: So, the U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Tuesday. It was just days ago that we had the other sanctions, the U.S. unilateral sanctions on North Korea. September 11th, we had U.N. Security Council sanctions. The U.S. seems to be very clear on the sticks if you will. The sticks to be used to try and cowl North Korea, if you will, but there's no carrot yet. And it has been said, the sticks alone are not going to bring North Korea to the table, that's what all the analysts have said over and over again.

GENOVESE: Well, we've tried in the past, in terms of the Clinton presidency, and, in part, the Bush presidency, and then in some respect, the Obama presidency to offer that combination of carrots and sticks, and they did not respond all that favorably to the carrots. So, that was then, this is now. Situations have changed. And so, the question is: can you put together a package of both threats and opportunities for North Korea that makes it attractive for them. There's a famous saying that you always give your adversary a royal road to retreat. We have to make it so that both President Trump and Kim Jong-un say face in retreating. That retreating is the honorable thing to do. Right now, advancing seems to be the thing that's on their mind, and that's dangerous in any sense -- the word.

SESAY: Yes. It certainly is. Michael Genovese, always a pleasure.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you. Thank you. Quick break here on NEWSROOM L.A. Women in Saudi Arabia are finally climbing into the driver seat, at least they will be in a couple of months. Why this ultra-conservative country is slowly easing restrictions on women. And more protest, the plan in South Africa, a closer look at the country's corruption scandals.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Hello, everyone. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan on an unannounced visit. He's expected to meet with Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, and top U.S. military leaders. It's the first time Mattis is visiting the country since President Trump announced a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan.

Well, Saudi Arabia is finally allowing women to get behind the wheel. The Saudi foreign ministry announced Tuesday, the king decreed that women should be allowed to drive. The Saudi ambassador to the U.N. called it a historic day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABDULLAH AL-MOUALLIMI, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: You may be interested to know that a few minutes ago, a royal has been issued in Saudi Arabia giving women the right to drive.

(CROWD CLAPPING)

AL-MOUALLIMI: This is a historic day for Saudi society, for men and women, and we can now say at last.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, joining us now is Maiwa Abdelghani, she is a Media Fellow and works at the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Maya, thank you so much for being us. You know, we heard that diplomat say it is a historic day, and it is indeed. One must, in the term, undercut that. But I'm interested in how we got here. Is this move about human rights? Is it truly about lifting the status of women or is it about Saudi Arabia's international reputation and economic concerns?

[01:25:21] MAIWA ABDELGHANI, MEDIA FELLOW AND MEMBER OF MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Yes. So, that's a good question. I think it is important to recognize that this is a definitely huge step in the right direction. And I think it's a little bit of both. I mean, first of all, this is -- this comes from a long line of advocacy and campaigning on behalf of the Saudi Arabian women. And this isn't a right that was given to them, this is a right they've been fighting for, for years. Back in 2015, they won the right to vote in municipal elections, and there are still, you know, many other laws in place that are holding them back. But this is, this is definitely a big win for Saudi Arabian women.

SESAY: One of the points that have been being, OK, the decree has been made. But that doesn't mean it won't be met with resistance. You know the region, you know the King there, what is your expectation that -- as to how this will roll out? Do you see it being a difficult to come to pass if you will?

ABDELGHANI: So, it's not going to take effect until another year from now. And all the laws in place that are restricting women are all discriminatory policies, there are policies that are misogynistic and it really takes a lot for Saudi Arabian women to finally find get to this place where they can actively participate, and actively be a part of their country. And that's not to say that they're not professionals right now in the workforce. I mean, Saudi Arabian women hold office right now. They are doctors, they are teachers. So, for a policy like that, that's long overdue to come in place. It definitely seems like it's going to take a while for it to actually go into effect.

SESAY: You know, you mentioned the discriminatory laws that are still on the books in Saudi Arabia, amongst of the guardianship laws, right? Which, you know, basically, as a woman, you effectively -- you're basically under the control of the guardianship of your male relatives, your father, your brother, or whatever. So, it's going to be interesting to see, first of all, how this is going to work in tandem, these giving women the freedom of movement, and saying they can drive. How is that going to coexist with the guardianship laws? Because as far as I can tell, there hasn't been a move to unravel that.

ABDELGHANI: Right. I mean, these laws slowly coming into place and starting to overturn them, means that Saudi Arabian women now have more mobility, they have more autonomy. But certainly, the laws that are -- you know, the travel laws having to seek permission from a male guardian, even other laws like playing sports and competing in sports publicly, and clothing restrictions. These are all misogynistic policies that are, you know, slowing down that process. And Saudi Arabian women, after finally achieving, you know, the right to drive are saying that they're not OK with these laws, and are quite frankly, un-Islamic. Because at the end of the day, a law like this is a huge reason why, and it perpetuates this terrible stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed, and that, you know, Islam oppresses women. And Saudi Arabian women are putting their foot down and saying no.

SESAY: So, with that, you say, this is a remarkable moment for Saudi Arabia that they won. It wasn't given to them, as you make the point that they protested and advocated for it. Do you expect to see an increase in advocacy now on the part of women? Is this a shot in the arm, if you will, for Saudi women as they try and tear down the rest of the misogynistic laws that are on the books?

ABDELGHANI: Yes. I do believe the Saudi Arabian women are going to continue fighting and are going to continue running these campaigns to try to overturn these laws. Because at the end of the day, these laws are showing how Saudi Arabia has this resistance of overturning or relinquishing power to 50 percent of the population. I mean, these are women that are contributing to their country and Saudi Arabia has this deeply rooted insecurity in allowing half the population to have this kind of autonomy. And so, I do expect to see that to continue having some pushback.

[01:29:50] SESAY: As I asked you at the beginning, what was driving or what has driven Saudi Arabia to this point. What do you think they get from this now that they've made the decision to allow women to drive?

What do you think they'll gain because you know, it's interesting that the decision was announced live in -- on two platforms an event in Washington, D.C. and simultaneously on Saudi state television so they were very much mindful of the international gaze.

What will they gain?

MARWA ABDELGHANI, MEDIA FELLOW, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: So I think that it's definitely an economic - there's an economic element to this. I mean women gaining the right to drive is definitely going to throw more of them into the workforce.

I think that it's - it's - it's a big deal to show that Muslim women are very proactive. I mean there's many countries around the world who've - who've elected women in high public office.

Singapore just elected their first female president, I mean the U.S. has yet to do that so I think that there's - there's a lot to gain, there's - there's economic benefits to this but for the Muslim women themselves it's a huge step in the direction to say that these policies do not represent them, they do not represent what they want and that these rights are not supposed to be given to them, they are God-given.

SESAY: Yes. Marwa Abdelghani, thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

Thank you for joining...

ABDELGHANI: thank you for... SESAY: ... us.

ABDELGHANI: ... having me.

SESAY: We're going to take a very quick break now.

And it looks like Donald Trump was ready to call a timeout in his feud with pro football players until he started tweeting late Tuesday.

We have the play-by-play just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: (CNN at 1:00) you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

The HEADLINES this hour.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mathis is in Kabul, Afghanistan to meet with the country's president and top U.S. military leaders.

It's his first visit there since President Trump announced a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan one that focuses less on troop numbers and more on regional cooperation to improve security there.

The president of the Kurdistan Regional Government is calling on Iraq's government to start talks to let it secede from the country.

Massoud Barzani said, "Kurds voted 'YES' in an independence referendum." Baghdad called the vote unconstitutional.

Even Turkey and Iran also opposed the vote amid fears of a new regional conflict.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he will travel to Puerto Rico next Tuesday. Millions of people there are without power and food, water, medicine, all of those things dwindling in the days after the island was blasted by hurricane Maria.

Critics say Mr. Trump hasn't been vocal enough in his response to the crisis.

While many Puerto Rico hospitals were damage by hurricane Maria and now they're running out of vital supplies.

(Our) Leyla Santiago, has more from San Juan.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hurricane Maria battered more than the buildings of Puerto Rico, it crippled many of the island's hospitals in desperate need of fuel to keep generators running for power.

At Hospital Del Maestro two patients in critical condition died.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (DR. JOSE DORCAL GARCIA, EM DIRECTOR HOSPITAL DEL MAESTRO): If the condition at the hospital would be normal, the patient will have more chance, we have more probability to manage the condition but it was - even though they were so critical we don't have the facilities to manage that type of patient.

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MALE SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO: My biggest fear is that we won't get anyone, everybody on time.

We're not getting to everybody in time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)