With that, the Texas Republican swiftly fell victim to the dreaded Twitter ratio, his tweet getting nearly 10 times as many comments as retweets. Many condemned his joke as “totally inappropriate” and “insensitive” and demanded he delete his account. A spokesman for Cruz did not respond to a request for comment early Thursday.
“[I]magine taking a genuinely good thing and then making the world’s stupidest, most insensitive statement to commend it,” one Twitter user wrote.
Cruz’s tweet is yet another example of the dangers of trying to find humor in emotionally charged situations, especially for politicians who often have to balance wanting to show their personalities on social media with still maintaining the proper decorum expected of their positions. Cruz, in particular, has drawn attention for venturing into the humorous side of Twitter, and his attempts have been met with both praise and ridicule.
On Wednesday, Disney joined other companies such as Apple and some of France’s richest families to contribute funds to rebuild the cathedral, which, among other significant damages, lost its towering spire to the blaze. Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been raised through private donations, The Washington Post has reported.
The Walt Disney Company today announced it is committing $5 million to aid in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris following the devastating fire that severely damaged the historic landmark this week: https://t.co/5Bm3BpDTPV pic.twitter.com/MFXAvUjsjg— Walt Disney Company (@WaltDisneyCo) April 17, 2019
“Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history,” Disney chief executive Bob Iger said in a Wednesday statement.
Then, just hours after the announcement was made, Cruz’s tweet appeared and the reactions poured in.
Some people were confused.
Others quickly pointed out the glaring error in Cruz’s joke — church officials have said the intricate stained glass windows, some of which date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, most likely survived the fire.
“Just wanted to let you know the stained glass was spared ...” one user wrote. “But now that I am here, I realise that you would make a perfect gargoyle.”
I am a born & bred Parisian who watched sobbing the fire of Notre Dame.— Sandrine Chouard (@ChouardSandrine) April 17, 2019
Just wanted to let you know the stained glass was spared by the fire (as you can see from this picture taken after the disaster).
But now that I am here, I realise that you would make a perfect gargoyle. pic.twitter.com/fROPvuZiqQ
“He’s trying to make a joke like a real human might but . . . he ends up sounding like Mike Huckabee,” tweeted author Molly Jong-Fast.
Celebrities also weighed in.
“Classy,” commented Lee Unkrich, the Oscar-winning director behind films such as “Toy Story 3” and “Coco.”
Wednesday marked Cruz’s latest try at Twitter humor. Last Halloween, in what many felt was an effort be “relatable,” Cruz tweeted a picture of the Zodiac Killer’s cipher, making light of a popular meme that claims he is the elusive serial killer. In 2017, he also joked about his resemblance to Grayson Allen, then a basketball standout at Duke University who now plays for the Utah Jazz, earning him a terse rebuke from the sports website Deadspin.
In the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy, Cruz hasn’t been the only person to draw backlash for ill-timed attempts at humorous commentary. Much to the horror of many, as firefighters were still scrambling to extinguish the raging flames, social media was inundated with jokes and memes about Quasimodo, the main character from Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” who was brought to life in Disney’s 1996 animated film of the same name.
PLEASE people, stop making jokes about Quasimodo.— Gerry Stergiopoulos (@GerryGreek) April 15, 2019
It is completely INNAPROPRIATE!
I'm not religious & love a good joke but this is HEARTBREAKING!
800 years of Art & Architecture are up in flames!#NotreDame is not just a #Paris tourist landmark. It is our shared human history. pic.twitter.com/6j3YuZBnwJ
However, not everyone thought the idea of Disney characters on the stained glass at the cathedral was a bad one.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly dated the Notre Dame’s spire. It was added in the 19th century.