Donald Trump has incurred the wrath of a number of Hollywood stars for inaccurate tweet regarding the devastating wildfires sweeping across California that have killed more than 30 and displaced thousands of residents.
In a series of tweets, Mr Trump pointed the finger at “gross mismanagement” for the catastrophic wildfires and threatened to withhold federal aid.
A number of celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Neil Young and Gerard Butler have lost homes in the blazes.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
The president did not specify which agency programme—federal firefighting assistance funds for the US Forest Service or the White House’s disaster relief fund—he threatened to withhold federal aid from.
In addition to firefighters and politicians, celebrities—many of whom are victims of the most destructive wildfire in California history—quickly chided the 72-year-old the nation’s leader for his cold-hearted remarks.
Katy Perry was among those who took aim at the president.
“This is an absolutely heartless response,” the singer tweeted. “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.”
Ava DuVernay, critically-acclaimed director of Selma, did not mince her words. “This man is demented,” Ms DuVernay wrote, referring to Mr Trump. “Never stop saying it.”
Ten-time Grammy winner John Legend, who has become one of the Mr Trump’s most vocal critic, expressed disappointment in Mr Trump failing to offer condolences to victims of the wildfires.
Even Titanic actor Leonardo DiCaprio chimed in. DiCaprio, Hollywood’s rising voice on climate change activism, fact-checked the president in a tweet explaining the actual causes of the California wildfires. Mr Trump did not mention the Golden State’s drought or climate change as causes for the natural disaster.
“The reason these wildfires have worsened is because of climate change and a historic drought,” the famed thespian wrote, attaching a link to an article featuring a statement from a fire official calling Mr Trump’s tweet “uninformed. “Helping victims and fire relief efforts in our state should not be a partisan issue.”
Neil Young, who lost his own Malibu home from the wildfire, took offence with the president’s comments. The legendary folk rock musician issued a statement on his website to correct the president for his inaccurate tweet, while also giving nod to the incoming Democrat-majority House he believes can potentially set the “unfit leader” straight.
“California is vulnerable – not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think,” Mr Young wrote. “As a matter of fact this is not a forest fire that rages on as I write this. We are vulnerable because of Climate Change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it.”
Other celebrities spoke out too.
Some celebrities also lost their homes to the natural disaster, or were affected by it. Among the notable people who are already impacted by the wildfires are Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler, Robin Thicke, Caitlyn Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, and Kanye and Kim Kardashian West.
The Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in the Los Angeles area already wiped out over 108,000 and 83,275 acres of land, respectively. In Northern California, where the wildfires engulfed more 164 square miles of land, more than 200 people people have been reported missing. The wildfires have displaced over 50,000 residents and left 31 people dead statewide.
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