"Dammit, this is not a good news story".
The contrast between Trump's optimistic take and her cries for help, plus heart-rending coverage from Puerto Rico generally, contributed to a spreading perception of a president out of touch.
Other disasters over the years since Hurricane Katrina have served as unpleasant reminders of that awful time, but this year has brought more than its share. On Thursday, after Duke was criticized for calling it a "good-news story", Trump added in a tweet, "Military is now on site and I will be there Tuesday".
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz made the comment on CNN Friday morning after acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke had defended what critics say has been a tardy response to the crisis in the US territory. "When you're drinking from a creek, it's not a good news story".
Given that some of those most basic needs aren't being met - and the fact that Trump's administration has come under fire for not moving as aggressively to address the devastation caused by Maria as it did for hurricanes Irma and Harvey - Duke's comment feels deeply out of touch. "That's why we're here, that's why we're staying until people are back in their homes, the schools are open, and everyone is safe". "Big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding!"More news: Alaves 1-2 Real Madrid
"I am begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying", Carmen Yulin Cruz said into the cameras.
On Thursday, Duke described the relief effort as "under control" and called the federal response to the disaster a "good news story".
Colonel James DeLapp, the Army Corps of Engineers commander for Puerto Rico who earlier said Maria's widespread destruction made it impossible to gauge how long it would take to restore power on the island, compared the enormity of the task with restoring electricity to Iraq during the war there.
Yet even in voicing optimism and sympathy, Trump drew attention again to Puerto Rico's pre-hurricane debt burden and infrastructure woes, leaving doubt how far Washington will go to make the US territory whole.
NY state is sending more help to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.More news: Venezuelan-Americans support country being added to list with travel restrictions
"We just want to get home and get back to our routines, our lives".
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead agency responding to the storm's aftermath, is a part of DHS.
"I am proud of the work that Department of Defense, FEMA, and the territory, along with the first responders, are doing", she said. "When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good-news story", Cruz said.
Meanwhile, more than 9,000 cargo containers filled with necessary supplies have arrived at a port in San Juan but have yet to be distributed to those in need.
Bossert said there are now 10,000 USA federal personnel in Puerto Rico, including 7,200 troops.More news: Saudi Arabia hands women the keys
She asked US President Donald Trump to act quickly on hurricane relief and urged him to deal with the island's debt crisis.