Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday President Trump was acting in character by spending much of his Saturday criticizing San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for her lack of enthusiasm over the federal government's response to the crisis in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.

"When the president gets attacked, he attacks back," Mnuchin said on Sunday, in responding to why Trump initiated a tweet storm on Saturday directed at the mayor of San Juan, the capital and largest city in Puerto Rico.

Mnuchin made the remarks after being asked by NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd why the president spent so much time going after Cruz when she criticized the response the efforts on Friday.

Todd said the president does not appear to emphathize with the mayor's plight.

"I think the mayor's comments were unfair given what the government has done," Mnuchin said.

Todd pushed back: "How do you know they were unfair? ... Have you been down there?"

Mnuchin said he has not been there, but that he "completely understands peoples' frustration and this is a very, very difficult situation."

He said he and the rest of the president's cabinet have been on almost daily calls monitoring the situation and relief effort.

He noted restoring electricity to the island's hospitals has been a priority, and he has been working with Energy Secretary Rick Perry on that issue.