President Donald Trump mourned coal executive Chris Cline on Friday, but many were put off by his tribute. The president posted a message of condolence on Twitter after news broke that Cline — Elin Nordegren's ex — had died in a helicopter crash in the Bahamas on July 4. To many, however, the message was heavily politicized.
"My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of great businessman and energy expert Chris Cline, his wonderful daughter, Kameron, and their friends, on the tragic accident which took place in the Bahamas," the president wrote. "The great people of West Virginia will never forget them!"
As tragic as Cline's accident was, many felt that the president's message was in poor taste. Cline was a huge donor for the Trump campaign, and the presidential run of Jeb Bush before that. He was also committed to keeping coal relevant in spite of the availability of alternative energy, and for some this was a crime against humanity as a whole.
"A man who gained his wealth by killing the planet and destroying the health of millions," one person wrote in response to the president.
Others fired back on Cline's billionaire status. With the wealth gap wider than ever before and only getting wider, many feel that it is fundamentally unjust for one person to hold such a fortune, even if they use it well.
"He was worth 2 billion dollars. That's what someone making $50,000 a year could make if they worked for 40,000 years," pointed out another person. "He was part of the problem. No ill will, if he was a good person peace be with him. But Trump sucking up to get some cash is disgusting."
Finally, many people found it distasteful for President Trump to comment so warmly on Cline's life and work while maintaining his silence on the accounts of violence at the border. More and more reports on the treatment of immigrants being detained are rolling in, including many stories of unsafe and unsanitary conditions, lack of basic care and even death.
"Anything on the deaths of the people at the border?" another person inquired. "The people not in coal but the people in cages?"
The president did not respond to any of these comments or questions, though he did tweet more about Cline later on. He retweeted a local story about Cline on Saturday morning, adding: A wonderful man and great Republican!" he also retweeted West Virginia Governor Jim Justice's tribute to Cline.