From a glass balcony overlooking the 14th hole of the Presidents Cup golf event, US President Donald Trump conveyed a clear statement: He would not be intimidated by the outcry over his Administration's response to the devastation on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
His decision to preside over the Presidents Cup, stopping on the way back to Washington from his own luxury golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, is likely to further the outcry from some Puerto Rico officials, congressional Democrats, civic leaders and celebrities that he has compounded a slow federal response to the devastation in Puerto Rico with a personal insensitivity to the suffering.
Trump's visit was all about optics, conveying the confidence of a leader. Wearing a sport coat and a white collared shirt but no tie, the former reality television star waved at a crowd in the distance and pumped his fist when a group of VIPs noticed him.
At the end, in a grand gesture at the awards presentation, he acknowledged the victims of hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida, dedicating the trophy to "all those people who went through so much". He added: "If you look today and see what's happening, how horrible it is, but we have it under really great control".
A man in the crowd shouted: "You don't give a [expletive] about Puerto Rico." But Trump fans cheered.
Trump has engaged in Twitter attacks on Puerto Rico officials who have criticised his Administration. The President and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to visit the island tomorrow.
Professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said Trump's use of Twitter in a crisis "makes him seem coldhearted, callous and out of touch. He thinks it makes him seem multisided, but the takeaway is that he's tone deaf to the suffering of people in the situation".
White House aides continued to fight back against the criticism, emphasising that there are 10,000 federal workers on the island.
In San Lazaro, Puerto Rico, several generations of the Sortre family rode out Hurricane Maria in a neighbour's concrete home, listening to ferocious wind flinging wood and other debris against the roof and hoping it wasn't pieces of their own wooden houses.
Their hopes were crushed when they emerged after the storm passed. "When I saw the house I felt immense sadness because I lost everything I had gained with the sacrifices made over the years," said Yadira Sortre. She said her house, her mother's and those of her siblings were destroyed. "The whole family lost everything."
Since then, townspeople have struggled to get by. The electricity is out and they are cut off because a bridge linking them to the community of San Lazaro was washed away. Neighbours are helping each other the best they can. People are eating only once a day and drinking a lot of coffee. Some people are sleeping in cars.
- Washington Post, AP