Donald Trump raised the ire of Hollywood and political figures alike on Thursday when he tweeted that he “cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” and suggested that the island of Puerto Rico itself is partly to blame for its current post-hurricane crisis.
“Selma” director Ava DuVernay tweeted a response to the president, telling him he has “no soul.”
“Your words echo of the evil that you are,” she wrote. “You may abandon these citizens without food, clean water and power, but we won’t.”
“Dear Congress, people r dying,” tweeted “Beauty and the Beast” star Josh Gad. “Their blood will be on your hands. Americans are frightened because their leader is unhinged. Do something!”
And “Hamilton” star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted: “relief aid in the form of a LOAN is unacceptable. Congress, all eyes on you. Will you ease the suffering of your fellow citizens?”
As of this week, 84 percent of Puerto Rico is still without electricity and two-thirds of the cell phone towers are down, three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, according to the New York Times.
Trump has blamed Puerto Rico for federal budget issues, and on Tuesday asked Congress for a $4.9 billion loan for aid, as Puerto Rico, in a debt crisis before the hurricanes of the late summer hit, may run out of money by the end of the month. This request comes after a $29 billion request for storm recovery.
The death toll on the island has risen to at least 44, and the EPA released a statement Wednesday that said “reports of residents obtaining or trying to obtain drinking water from wells at hazardous waste Superfund sites in Puerto Rico.” The agency also warned that until power is restored, raw sewage will continue to seep into Puerto Rico’s waterways.
In short, the island is still in deep crisis.
Members of Hollywood, as well as members of Congress and the Senate, among other public figures, demand more aid in response to Trump’s early morning tweet threatening to cut aid to Puerto Rico: