Rihanna Amps Up Criticism of Pres. Trump's Puerto Rico Response: 'Don't Let Your People Die Like This'
While millions of fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico are suffering the devastating after-effects of Hurricane Maria, Rihanna has been taking to Twitter on a regular basis over the past week asking President Trump what his administration is doing to relieve the suffering.
The pop star has joined a rising din of fellow musicians, actors, activists, politicians and pundits who have questioned why Trump has seemingly spent more time fighting with NFL players over National Anthem protests than rushing aid to the beleaguered island nation.
The singer -- who was born on the Caribbean island of Barbados, which was not affected by the storm -- amped up her criticism of the president on Thursday morning (Sept. 28), by retweeting the cover of the New York Daily News, featuring a despondent Puerto Rican citizen in a shelter, alongside the headline, "No food, no water, no power, no medical care for the dying... Puerto Rico needs more help, Mr. President!: American Tragedy."
Rihanna added her own stinging message: "Dear @realDonaldTrump I know you've probably seen this, but I just wanted to make sure! Don't let your people die like this."
It was just the latest in a series of tweets from RihRih keeping the focus on the need to help the people of Puerto Rico.
Among the other musicians and activists pleading with the administration to do more are John Legend, who took Trump to task for a bizarre tweet on Monday (Sept. 25) in which the president appeared to be denigrating the island for its "broken infrastructure & massive debt."
On Tuesday morning (Sept. 26) Trump assured the nation that the White House is working hard to help Puerto Rico, explaining in a briefing, however, that "this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. And it's a big ocean, it's a very big ocean."
With the majority of the 3.5 million American citizens on the island without clean water, electricity, cell phone service or reliable medical care, until granting a temporary 10-day waiver on Thursday, Trump had hedged on calls to urge Congress to waive the Jones Act. The federal statue from 1920 regulates commerce and shipping between U.S. ports and its enforcement in a time of crisis had reportedly made it more difficult for much-needed aid to reach the island.
Trump's previous refusal was explained by his claim that "lots of shippers" were against the action to lift the Jones restrictions. The move to loosen them came after Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello asked the White House for the waiver to relieve a situation that, according to Republican Sen. John McCain's office, had made it twice as expensive to ship things from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico as it is to ship from any other foreign port in the world; the act was swiftly lifted to aid Texas and Florida after hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
Yesterday night, I petitioned the @WhiteHouse for a temporary waver of the Jones Act.— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) September 28, 2017