Composer and famed playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda explained Friday morning what drove him to say that President Trump would be “going straight to hell.”
Miranda, the creator and original star of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” drew national headlines with the condemnation, which came after Trump began attacking San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as her city was suffering from Hurricane Maria.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 30, 2017
Miranda has family in Puerto Rico and has taken a prominent role in raising disaster relief money for the island after Maria hit last month. The musician was promoting his new song, “Almost Like Praying,” when the hosts of “CBS This Morning” asked him about his highly publicized tweet.
“It’s unprecedented language from me, but it’s unprecedented to have the president of the United States attack the victims of a natural disaster,” Miranda said. “I’ve never seen that before, so those were the only words I had to express my feelings on that. When have we ever seen that?”
The tweet garnered a lot of attention and was featured on the cover of the New York Daily News, which serves Trump and Miranda’s home city.
Miranda suggested that the only reason this politically charged tweet made news is because the rest of his feed is rather innocuous: dad jokes, videos of dogs and pictures of his son playing with trains.
“I do my best to be the silver lining in the world because, you know, the world is how it is,” he said.
But the Broadway star was outraged by Trump’s response to massive storm that killed at least 34 people and devastated Puerto Rico. It was the worst hurricane to hit the tropical island in nearly a century.
The president’s visit to Puerto Rico was roundly criticized. He suggested that Hurricane Maria was not “a real catastrophe like Katrina” and tossed rolls of paper towels into a crowd during one event. Nevertheless, Trump praised his own visit to the island and disparaged the news media for the negative coverage.
A great day in Puerto Rico yesterday. While some of the news coverage is Fake, most showed great warmth and friendship.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2017
But what appears to have set off Miranda was Trump’s tweet chastising Cruz, who had criticized federal response efforts.
“We are dying here, and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long,” Cruz said at a press conference on Sept. 29. “So mayday, we are in trouble.”
The next morning, Trump tweeted, “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.”
Miranda told the “Today” show that he wishes he could say that his tweet saying Trump will go to hell was impulsive — but that it was not.
“That was not an impulsive tweet. Those were the only words I had left, and I’m a guy who puts words together for a living,” he said. “They’re all I had available to me to express my reaction to his attack on the people of Puerto Rico.”
Shortly after Trump was elected, he attacked Miranda’s “Hamilton” in a series of tweets. Speaking from the stage, cast members had confronted then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence after a show, urging him to respect the country’s diversity.
“The Theater must always be a safe and special place,” Trump tweeted. “The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
The proceeds from “Almost Like Praying” will go to the Hispanic Federation’s Unidos Disaster Relief Fund, which is dedicated to providing Puerto Rico with critical supplies.
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