Celebrities including Rihanna, John Legend and Cardi B had harsh words for President Trump after two deadly mass shootings that occurred within 24 hours over the weekend.
After a gunman killed 21 people Saturday in an El Paso shopping center, Trump tweeted that the massacre, which was followed by another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, less than 24 hours later, “was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice.”
“Um . . . Donald, you spelt 'terrorism’ wrong!” Rihanna wrote in a scathing response. “Your country had 2 terrorist attacks back to back hours apart leaving almost 30 innocent people dead.”
The Barbados native, who has been critical of the president’s immigration policies, also referenced the recent shooting that killed three people (the singer mistakenly referenced six deaths) at a California food festival, where authorities said the suspected shooter used an AK-47-type rifle he had purchased legally in Nevada. “Imagine a world where it’s easier to get an AK-47 than a VISA,” she added.
Cardi B also responded directly to Trump, who tweeted that the FBI was working with state and local law enforcement to investigate the deadly attacks. “We have enough information already!Both of the shooters are white supremacist terrorist with intentions to kill” minorities, the rapper wrote. “Law enforcement took rapid action but what are YOU going to do to control some of your RACIST SUPPORTERS?”
Authorities said Sunday that the 21-year-old man accused of carrying out the El Paso attack will be treated as a domestic terrorist. The suspect, who was arrested Saturday, could also face federal hate crime charges. Authorities think he wrote a lengthy manifesto that included hateful references to “race mixers” and what the author called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” No motive has been established in Dayton.
Legend, who tweeted Sunday that his “heart aches for El Paso and Dayton,” also focused on the El Paso shooter’s reported beliefs, writing that “we need our leaders to take urgent action: take these weapons of war off the street and fight the evil ideology of white nationalism that motivates many of these terrorists.”
The EGOT winner then turned to Trump, who has been accused of using racist rhetoric since long before he took office and has been widely denounced in response to his recent verbal attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color and a black lawmaker, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).
On Sunday, at the top of his HBO late-night show, John Oliver also made connections between the El Paso shooting and Trump's rhetoric.
“Last Week Tonight” showed footage of a May rally Trump held in Panama City Beach, Fla., where Trump told supporters that Border Control agents weren’t allowed to use weapons to deter migrants. Trump asked: “How do you stop these people? You can’t.”
“Shoot them,” one supporter offered to loud cheers.
“That’s only in the panhandle you can get away with that statement,” the president said with a smile. “Only in the panhandle.”
“It is not only in the panhandle where you can get away with that statement,” Oliver said. “You can now get away with it all over the country, and as he just made painfully clear, in any room the actual president is in, which is absolutely appalling. And that is something we cannot afford to get numb to.”
On Monday, Trump urged the country “to condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” As reported by The Washington Post’s John Wagner, he did not reference the gun reform measures he proposed hours earlier on Twitter.
“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” Trump tweeted. “We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”
Many celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, “Riverdale” actress Lili Reinhart and singer Lizzo called for stronger gun control legislation in social media posts over the weekend.
Country singer Kacey Musgraves offered an impassioned plea during her set Sunday at Lollapalooza.
“I don’t know what the answer is, but obviously something has to be . . . done. Maybe somebody will hear us if we all yell together and say, ‘Somebody . . . do something,’” she told the crowd at the Chicago music festival, using harsher language.
After the audience obliged, Musgraves began singing “Rainbow,” a single that the singer once described as “a song for anybody with any kind of weight on their shoulders.”
After her performance, Musgraves appealed directly to Trump. “Don’t you hear our pain?” she wrote in a tweet that included the president’s handle. “You have the power to become a hero. Why don’t you take it?”
Though many celebrities routinely speak out about gun violence and other issues, they are often criticized for wading into policy-related discourse. On Sunday, Cardi B responded to one such fan, who tweeted that the subject was beyond her “scope.”
The rapper disagreed with that statement. She added: “this is my country and I’m tired !”
Musgraves had a similar exchange Monday afternoon, after tweeting about her decision to speak out. “I love keeping things about the music and usually stay out of politics publicly UNTIL it barrels past political party preference points and dangerously encroaches on fundamental rights,” she wrote.
“Stick to the singing Kacey,” one social media user replied, asserting that “most of” her fans carry firearms at her shows.
“Let me be clear,” Musgraves tweeted in response. “I’m from Texas. I grew up around hunting and guns. There’s a time and place for that and even self protection in ways...but this is different. The system is majorly flawed and NOBODY NEEDS ANYTHING REMOTELY AUTOMATIC. PERIOD. They’re mass killing machines.”
“Hold your politicians accountable. Hold the president accountable,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet. “Start paying attention to actual ways we can make change happen. I promise I will too.”