The news cycle has never spinned faster as 2017 brought on a veritable onslaught of tragedy and outrage in the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency. From the Muslim travel ban and devastating hurricanes to the biggest mass shooting in American history, bad news is nearly a daily occurrence. Unfortunately, America’s President has done little to alleviate the grief, often fanning the flames with rude, misleading, and one-sided posts on social media.
However, celebrities have proven to be a vanguard against the tide of Trump tantrums, refuting his claims, drawing awareness to important causes, and saying what we’re all really thinking. See the eight celebrity responses to Trump’s policies that lightened our hearts and restored a little bit of our faith in humanity.
Ellen Degeneres on Trump's Muslim Travel Ban
Talk show host Ellen Degeneres rarely discusses politics, but Trump’s myopic ban against immigrants entering the US prompted her to action. Using the example of animated film Finding Dory, Degeneres explained in simple terms why banning immigrants is bad policy. With Dory living in Australia and her parents living in America, their reunion would have been impossible without a little help.
“Even though Dory gets into America, she ends up separated from her family. But the other animals help Dory – animals that don’t even need her, animals that don’t even have anything in common with her,” she explained. “They help her even though they’re complete different colors because that’s what you do when you see someone in need – you help them.”
Kim Kardashian on Trump's Handling of the Puerto Rico Crisis
With Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria, Trump chose to limit support for the island nation, even though it’s a part of the United States. Even as San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz urged him to send help, he used Twitter to attack her and accuse her of “poor leadership”. A fed up Kim Kardashian clapped back with the perfect response.
They don’t have power to watch the news!!! Please stop tweeting & golfing while people are dying! Please step up & help! https://t.co/AP8PnapWaO
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 30, 2017
Selena Gomez on Trump's DACA Reversal
As a Hispanic-American and one of the world’s most prominent celebrities, Selena Gomez has often used her platform to draw attention to important political issues – and the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2017 was one such issue. “Dreamers” is the designation given to undocumented immigrants who are living in the US and were brought there as children – i.e. when they had no choice in the matter.
The Obama administration saw the benefits of supporting this demographic, and that’s how DACA was born. This program protected Dreamers, allowing them to obtain driver’s licenses, go to college, and – most importantly – pay income taxes. Knowing little about DACA, Trump decided to phase it out, which led to Gomez passionately penning the following plea, asking her 131 million Instagram followers for help.
Angelina Jolie on Trump's Travel Ban
As a longstanding, passionate advocate for the disenfranchised, Angelina Jolie uses her fame for good. In 2017, she has been especially vocal on behalf of refugees. In one of the more moving celebrity responses, Jolie wrote an incredible essay for The New York Times addressing Trump’s refugee ban.
In it, she wrote, “I’m proud of our country’s history of giving shelter to the most vulnerable people. Americans have shed blood to defend the idea that human rights transcend culture, geography, ethnicity and religion. The decision to suspend the resettlement of refugees to the United States and deny entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with shock by our friends around the world precisely because of this record. The global refugee crisis and the threat from terrorism make it entirely justifiable that we consider how best to secure our borders. Every government must balance the needs of its citizens with its international responsibilities. But our response must be measured and should be based on facts, not fear.”
Rihanna on the Puerto Rico Crisis
Many people were outraged by Trump’s poor handling of the crises in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic caused by Hurricane Maria. Even as the victims starved and pled for basic utilities like electricity, Trump was busy victim-blaming on Twitter. This especially hit home for Rihanna, who blasted the President online, demanding that he pay attention to the plight of Puerto Ricans.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 28, 2017
Meryl Streep Responds to Trump's Political Bullying
Although he’s a reality star himself, one of Trump’s favorite targets is celebrity “elites” and members of the press – and he routinely attacks both. And Meryl Streep wasn’t having any of it. During a six-minute speech at the Golden Globes award ceremony, Streep called out the President’s abhorrent behavior, rallied the troops to donate to non-profit organization Committee to Protect Journalists, and advocated for the end of political bullying.
“It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life,” Streep said. “This instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public … by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 9, 2017
Lady Gaga on the Path Forward
While the celebrity world was overflowing with righteous indignation and impassioned posts about Trump, Lady Gaga tried a different tactic. Instead of arguing, clapping back, or responding with anger, she reminded her millions of followers that “#LoveTrumpsHate” and called for us all to take care of each other during these turbulent times.