This Celebrity Told Trump He Was Going to Hell After His Mean Tweets About Puerto Rico
President Trump built his brand, at least partially, on his Twitter presence. And his tendency to engage in feuds on the social media platform is notorious. Whether he’s doling out dating advice to Robert Pattinson or criticizing his own cabinet members, he’s made no bones about who and when he’ll go after someone.
In the past, plenty of celebrities have taken it upon themselves to criticize the president for his behavior, both on and off Twitter. And one award-winning actor and writer who’s usually known for a sunny disposition finally snapped after Trump made some less-than-gracious comments about the citizens of Puerto Rico. Here’s how it all played out.
1. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017
When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, the island was already in the midst of recovering from Hurricane Irma. The nearly Category 5 storm with deadly 155 mph winds and torrential rain, battered the island for more than a day.
In the days after Maria hit Puerto Rico, there were reports of widespread, catastrophic damage. Nearly the entire island was without electricity, much of the region was flooded, and many citizens lacked basic resources like water and food. All told, roughly 3.4 million people were affected — and now face a long, tough road as far as rebuilding is concerned.
As a general rule, people turn to their government in times of crisis. But many Puerto Ricans were disappointed with the response they received from the U.S. federal government.
2. The U.S. government was slow to respond to the crisis
Summer 2017 brought about numerous crises for FEMA and other federal disaster relief agencies. They are still actively helping with relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast.
But many felt that, by comparison, the government’s response to Maria was lackluster at best. President Trump, for example, did not hold a Situation Room briefing about the destruction in Puerto Rico until Sept. 26 — nearly a week after the storm hit.
Meanwhile, less than half of Puerto Rico’s citizens had clean drinking water, and most were still without power. Many of its leaders on the ground were growing exceedingly frustrated with what organizations like Oxfam felt was a sluggish and inadequate response.
3. President Trump criticized Puerto Ricans on Twitter
Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Some of Trump’s first remarks came via his Twitter account (where else?). And as far as his critics were concerned, they exacerbated the problems Puerto Rico faced rather than offering comfort. On Sept. 25, Trump tweeted: “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble …owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well.”
Some, including Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan, took that to mean that Trump was inappropriately tying the territory’s financial hardships to the type of aide it would receive. And when the criticism grew more frequent, he lashed out at her in particular.
4. He singled out the mayor of San Juan in his tweets
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Cruz was especially displeased with the chaos and lack of resources in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. And Trump went on the defensive after she made comments about the lack of help her city had received.
On Sept. 30, 2017, he took to Twitter to respond to his critics, and more specifically, Mayor Cruz. “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,” he tweeted.
He went on to add, “”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.”
Finally, he defended the work done up to that point, while taking one last jab at Puerto Ricans. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job,” he wrote.
It wasn’t the first time Trump has taken his beef with others to Twitter. But given that he was doing so during a time of national crisis, it didn’t exactly go over well.
5. Trump received a lot of backlash for his comments
Trump continues to dominate the shittiest president ever competition https://t.co/mUOiLfpfLT
— John Legend (@johnlegend) September 30, 2017
It’s one thing to criticize someone you disagree with politically. But to lash out at people in the midst of a crisis is another thing entirely. And therefore, the backlash against Trump’s Puerto Rico tweets was swift and widespread. In Puerto Rico, citizens reacted with anger and frustration.
On Twitter, celebrities like Lady Gaga and John Legend chided him for his response and called out his lackluster leadership during the crisis. And one celebrity with Puerto Rican roots went all in on Trump.
6. Hamilton’s creator told him he was going to hell in a golf cart
She has been working 24/7.
You have been GOLFING.
You're going straight to hell.
Fastest golf cart you ever took. https://t.co/5hOY23MBvQ
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 30, 2017
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Grammy and Tony-winning creator of Hamilton, has made headlines for his tremendous musical talent and quick wit. And his nearly 1.8 million Twitter followers can attest to the fact that he mostly uses social media to promote his projects and share playlists and memes.
But on Sept. 30, Miranda — whose family is Puerto Rican — was enraged by the president’s treatment of Mayor Cruz and Puerto Rico. And he did not mince words when he fired off several tweets in response.
He defended Cruz, tweeting, “She has been working 24/7. You have been GOLFING. You’re going straight to hell. Fastest golf cart you ever took.”
Miranda also called Trump a liar and insinuated that he was too busy golfing to take care of the situation in Puerto Rico. His tweets quickly went viral. After all, it’s not every day that someone goes after the president to his face — or, in this case, his Twitter avatar. The New York Daily News even used Miranda’s tweet on the front page of the Oct. 1 Sunday edition.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Miranda took the newfound attention in stride.
7. Miranda used the attention to raise money for Puerto Rico’s relief efforts
Even before Miranda responded to Trump’s tweets, he’d been busy trying to raise awareness about the dire situation in Puerto Rico. In late September, he contributed a powerful essay about his family’s home for The Hollywood Reporter, snd he continued to use Twitter to spread word about relief efforts.
At the end of his Trump-themed tweets, he hyperlinked the Hispanic Foundation’s fundraising page. He’s continuing his fundraising efforts with a new song, featuring artists like Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, and Camilla Cabello. And after penning an email to MoveOn.com members on Oct. 1, Miranda helped the nonprofit raise $2.5 million for Puerto Rico relief in just 24 hours.
Miranda isn’t alone in his fundraising efforts. Beyonce, Stephen Colbert, and countless others joined the Broadway star in helping the recovery in Puerto Rico. And while his scathing rebuke of Trump may have taken fans by surprise, Miranda seemingly has no regrets about using his platform to take a stand for his fellow Americans.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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