Donald Trump's tweets attacking San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and then more tweets directed at those criticizing him for it were the talk of the Sunday news shows.
Just a day after the president complained about Cruz's "poor leadership ability" and "others in Puerto Rico" who "want everything to be done for them" -- none of which sat well with Hollywood stars, especially those of Puerto Rican descent -- Trump was busy defending those tweets.
We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates,...
During a panel discussion with Jake Tapper, frequent Trump critic Ana Navarro called the president's tweets "unconscionable" and defended the San Juan mayor for her emotional statements. "What the mayor of San Juan is doing is voicing the frustration, the anger, the desperation of the people of Puerto Rico."
She also tore into Trump for using his Twitter account to punch down on someone in a desperate situation. "The President of the United States is the biggest fish in this structure, right? He's got the biggest bully pulpit of all. And if he wants unity of command, even if he thinks he's being maligned by the mayor of San Juan, he's got to shut up!"
Tapper also interviewed Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and challenged him on the president's tweets. Mulvaney said Trump's remark about people who "want everything done for them" was about people who expected the Puerto Rico response to be as "easy" as the response in Texas and Florida. "This was always going to be harder, and we knew that."
Responding to the contentious back-and-forth between Trump and Mayor Cruz, he said, "I think it's unfair to say that we haven't done everything we can, because we have done everything that we can and will continue to do so. It's unfortunate that the San Juan mayor wants to sort of go against the grain. We'd love to have her on the team as we all pull in the same direction. My understanding is that as of yesterday, she had not even been to the FEMA operation center in her own city."
Asked if he could understand why American citizens might be repulsed by Trump's tweets, he replied, "I've known from day one that there's folks who want to see this administration fail. They look for opportunities to say, 'Oh look, they're not doing a great job.' Judge us by the actions."
On NBC, Chuck Todd interviewed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and asked him what the president meant when he tweeted that Puerto Ricans "want everything done for them" and why he seemed so angry on Twitter.
"When the president gets attacked, he attacks back," Mnuchin responded. "I think the mayor's comments were unfair, given what the federal government has done."
When Todd pressed him on that point, Mnuchin said he understands people's frustrations but couldn't comment on why Trump attacked Mayor Cruz or whether he regretted it. "I don't think the president was attacking the people. He understands that the people are going through a very difficult situation."
Liberal firebrand Al Sharpton tackled the racial angle in his criticism, saying, "It is really, really clear that he absolutely looks at [Puerto Ricans] like they're not American citizens, entitled to look at the United States government for certain help and certain assistance when they are faced with a natural disaster."
He continued: "It comes down again to: Does he consider people of color equal citizens like everyone else? Can you imagine him saying that to whites in Florida?"