San Juan's fearless mayor Carmen Cruz carried on her spat with President Donald Trump on Saturday in a fiery interview with his arch nemesis CNN.
It came hours after the president's accusation that she had conspired with Democrats to publicly criticize his administration's response to Hurricane Maria and the relief effort in Puerto Rico.
Speaking to Anderson Cooper on Saturday, Cruz dismissed his accusation mischievously, saying: 'Maybe he's used to women who need to be told what to do but that's not what we are here in San Juan.'
Cruz said the president's combative tweets about her were merely an attempt to distract the public from what she considers to the government's sub-par response to the disaster.
'He's looking for an excuse for things that are not going well,' she said. While irksome, her feud with the president sparked a new wave of supplies, she said.
Scroll down for video
Carmen Cruz, the bold mayor of San Juan, returned to CNN on Saturday to respond to President Trump's criticism of her criticism of him, saying his unkind tweets earlier in the day were an 'excuse for things that are not going well'
'Yesterday after my press conference all of a sudden things started coming in from FEMA and I got a text saying more supplies were coming. All I want is more supplies,' she said.
Cruz, a relatively unknown politician who has been the city's mayor since 2013, dominated headlines on Friday after pleading with the president in an emotional appearance on CNN: 'Mr Trump, I am begging you - we are dying.'
Trump slammed Cruz on Twitter on Saturday, accusing her of poor leadership and of conspiring with his political enemies because she'd criticized him the day before
The plea was in abhorred response to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke's comment that Washington's response to Maria was a 'good news story'.
'When you are drinking from a creek and have no food to feed your baby, it is not "good news"', Cruz thundered on Friday.
Since Maria hit earlier this month, the island has had most of its power wiped out.
Supplies are now coming in thick and fast from charities and from the government but a desperate lack of drivers and logistics on the ground mean that they are not being distributed fast enough.
The combined result is that Puerto Ricans living in remote areas or on the other side of impassable routes are still without food and water and are relying on what power remains in pre-charged phones for light.
On Saturday, Cruz said many mayors from other towns had come to her asking her for more aid but she had none to give.
Cruz told host Anderson Cooper on Saturday night that since her feud with the president, she has received a new wave of supplies from FEMA
This picture taken on Saturday shows Cruz wading through waist deep water to speak with residents in flooded neighborhoods of San Juan. Trump is golfing in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend and will visit Puerto Rico next week
Trump (above leaving the White House for Marine One on Friday to make the flight to New Jersey) insists FEMA is doing a 'great job'
'People are still coming and saying, you know, "where's the help? Please help us,"' she added.
Unlike her, some of the local politicians she has spoken to are too afraid to publicly condemn the federal response.
In the heat of her spat with Trump on Friday, she told a Washington Post reporter: 'I will always speak my mind. I don't give a damn.'
Trump was universally admonished on Saturday after accusing Cruz of 'poor leadership' and saying she had only gone on television to criticize him at the behest of his political enemies.
Frustrated: On Saturday afternoon, stars condemned Trump's attack on the Puerto Rican mayor in a unanimous fashion
'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.
'Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help,' he said.
On Friday, he weighed down talks of how the island would recover from the hurricane by reminding it of its 'tremendous debt' and suggesting that his government would not pay for it.
Among the countless critics were Hollywood celebrities who accused him of being heartless.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez and Star Trek's George Takei are among those to have defended the devastated island of US citizens.
Lady Gaga also took to social media to blast the former reality TV star, writing: 'Oh I see @realDonaldTrump you're not helping PR because of the electoral votes u need to be re-elected #Florida=29 #Texas=38 #PuertoRico=0'
In an earlier tweet she had written: 'I think it's clear where the "poor leadership" lies @realDonaldTrump Puerto Rico is part of the United States. This is our responsibility.'
The Joanne singer's statements were in reference to Puerto Rico's complicated relationship to the country Trump leads.
Cruz resisted the temptation to hit back at him on Twitter on Saturday
As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Ricans are by law natural-born US citizens but cannot vote in elections.
Trump continued congratulating the National Guardsmen for their work on Saturday
And Jennifer Lopez weighed into the debate.
The Shades of Blue actress posted a photo contrasting Carmen Yulín Cruz wading through waist deep flood water in Puerto Rico with Trump casually tossing a golf ball during one of his frequent golf trips.
J-Lo captioned the photo 'Photos were taken five minutes apart. Couldn't make this up folks. #shameful.'
Star Trek actor George Takei picked up on the same contrast between the San Juan Mayor's rescue efforts and Trump's apparent lack thereof.
The LGBTI activist posted the same pic of Carmen Yulín Cruz shaking a Puerto Rican resident's hand while wading through water, contrasting the image with Trump's own tweets criticizing the San Juan mayor.
Takei captioned the image: 'The irony of Trump golfing and tweeting—saying the mayor of San Juan wants “everything to be done for them”—it’s [as] thick as his skull.'
Not every celebrity message took direct aim at Trump, however. Ellen Degeneres tweeted a statement of support for the beleaguered Puerto Rican politician.
It simply read: '@CarmenYulinCruz I see you, I hear you, I love you. You're a hero.'
Trump continued celebrating the government's 'great work' in its response to Maria and accused the 'Fake News' media of censoring it from public view.
Cruz has been hailed a 'hero' for speaking out against the president. She said many others wouldn't dare and were too afraid to criticize him
On the San Lorenzo River in Morovis, residents are being forced to traverse the river themselves on foot and in cars. A bridge which once stood there was eviscerated by the hurricane
People are using a rope wire to get across the river. There is still no power in large parts of the island and the health system is beginning to buckle under the strain
Patients had to be evacuated from the San Francisco Hospital in Rio Piedras, San Juan, on Saturday after the failure of a medical plant
Gas stations are running out of fuel and there are dwindling supplies of food and water all over the island
Trump has congratulated Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello (above) for his response to the disaster. Rossello has been complimentary in his assessment of the Washington's contribution to the recovery effort
He shared footage of National Guardsmen unloading supplies and has pointed to Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello's remarks that he is being given everything he asks for from FEMA.
Brock Long , the administrator of FEMA, has sided with the president. He said Cruz had failed to visit its command center on the island and claimed that was what slowed down the mission.
‘The problem that we have with the mayor unfortunately is that unity of command is ultimately what’s needed to be successful in this response,' he said.
In a more diplomatic tone, he described her as 'the good mayor' and invited her to go to the center.
‘What we need is for the mayor, the good mayor, to make her way to the joint field office and get plugged into what’s going on and be successful,’ he said.
Cruz told MSNBC that she had no intention of sparking a war of words with the president and that her intention has always been on getting much needed help to her people.
'Actually, I was asking for help. I wasn't saying anything nasty about the president, but don't take my word for it,' she said, pointing to the military and disaster experts who have all condemned the response to the Maria recovery operation so far.
There are several thousand National Guardsmen in Puerto Rico which have been sent there since the hurricane blew past
While supplies are coming in thick and fast, much of the problem on the island lies in distribution
Ground crew and flight crew airment at the Connecticut Air National Guard's 103rd Airlift Wing prepare to leave for Puerto Rico on Friday with more supplies
On Twitter, she has refrained from responding to Trump's jabs at her and instead wrote on Saturday: 'The goal is one: saving lives.
'This is the time to show our "true colors". We cannot be distracted by anything else.'
One of the most immediate problems in Puerto Rico is the buckling healthcare system.
Due to the lack of power, hospitals are being forced to evacuate patients because it is not safe for them to stay there.
The health system was already a precarious but the lack of power means basic medicines are unable to be kept insulated.
'Whenever there is a disaster that impacts an area to the degree that this one has, then yes, people’s lives are going to be in danger,' said Dr. James Lapkoff, an emergency room doctor in Waynesville, North Carolina, who was part of the HHS team dispatched to Puerto Rico.
Maria knocked out electricity to the entire island, and only a handful of Puerto Rico’s 63 hospitals had generators operating at full power. Even those started to falter amid a shortage of diesel to fuel them and a complete breakdown in the distribution network.