Cruz shot back with, "The goal is one: saving lives".
In a separate interview on the same program, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney defended Trump's tweets and said he interpreted them as Trump trying to impress upon the public how difficult the storm relief efforts were.
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media while flanked by first lady Melania Trump before departing on Marine One from the White House, on October 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gomez is using the money she raised to order supplies from Costco in Puerto Rico, to send to Peñuelas. But as soon as he stepped off the plane, the president was in a self-congratulatory mood.
Sanders also said it would be fair for people to wonder if race was a factor in Trump's response to the devastation in Puerto Rico.
"And really, they are people that have good hearts".
Trump touted the response to Hurricane Maria as he attended the briefing on relief efforts, noting that the territory's officials "can be proud" of the relatively low death toll on the island compared to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "All I did last week, or actually even this week, is ask for help". Her response could not be heard.
Mr Trump shook hands with Ms Cruz after his arrival but he saved his warm words of praise for other local and federal authorities. He said the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort was due to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. "He was giving us the highest grades".
You have always responded to us.
Site highlights each day to your inbox. "Strong industry-government coordination is critical, and I thank President Trump and his Administration for their support and commitment throughout Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria". And we've got to demonstrate that we take care of our own.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, there are now more than 10,000 federal officials on the ground on the island, and 45 percent of customers now have access to drinking water. He said many grocery stores and fast-food restaurants are open.
President Trump arrived in Puerto Rico on Tuesday to assess the damage and relief efforts on the island.
The state is also prepared to accept medical patients who are in need of care. Adding, "And we can all work together to move forward".
For many, however, that isn't enough.
Hurricane Maria was the most devastating hurricane to make land in Puerto Rico in nearly 100 years and the country is still reeling in its wake.
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