As a Category 4 hurricane pummeled the Florida Keys with 130 miles per hour winds Sunday morning on its way toward Florida's west coast, the president's daughter offered her "love and prayers" to those in its path. But Ivanka Trump's statement on Hurricane Irma sounds strikingly similar to one she tweeted in late August when Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas.
"Sending love and prayers to our brothers and sisters in #Florida #HurricaneIrma," the president's eldest daughter wrote in a tweet published Sunday. A few days earlier, Ivanka had urged those residing in the path of Hurricane Irma to read up on hurricane safety tips at the official website of the Department of Homeland Security and keep abreast of updates on the storm. "Thoughts & prayers to those in the path of #HurricaneIrma," she tweeted Sept. 8. "Go to http://ready.gov/hurricanes for safety tips & follow @fema to stay informed!"
Her tweets echoed the basic message behind two tweets she'd made regarding Hurricane Harvey a few weeks earlier. "For those in #HurricaneHarvey's path, we are praying for you," Ivanka tweeted on Aug. 25 along with a link to the National Hurricane Center's website. The president's daughter tweeted about Hurricane Harvey again a few days later, writing, "As we pray for those affected by #HurricaneHarvey, let us also honor all of the brave heroes and first responders."
At the time, Ivanka was heavily criticized for appearing to offer hurricane victims only her prayers and not a helping hand. Her tweets about Hurricane Harvey were compared to those from former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who'd filled her Twitter feed with numerous resources for victim and those who wanted to assist them.
But Ivanka's tweets aren't the only thing to have come under scrutiny as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida. A petition launched last week on the activism-centered social networking site Care2 asks the World Meteorological Association to change Hurricane Irma's name to Hurricane Ivanka in an effort to pressure the Trump administration to take climate change seriously.
"Ivanka Trump, who promised to try to influence her father on certain issues like climate change, has quietly accepted the administration’s lack of action on this very serious issue," the petition states. "Ivanka Trump can say what she wants about climate change, but as long as she quietly stands back, she remains complicit in the destruction we all face at the hands of her father’s administration."
As of Sunday, the petition had garnered 12,751 signatures out of its 13,000 signature goal.
Hurricane Irma restrengthened to a Category 4 storm just before it bore down on the Florida Keys, making landfall Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma is expected to remain a major hurricane as it moves along Florida's west coast, bringing with it "imminent danger of life-threatening storm surge flooding."
"The threat of catastrophic storm surge flooding is highest along the southwest coast of Florida, where 10 to 15 feet of inundation above ground level is expected," the National Hurricane Center warned Sunday. "This is a life-threatening situation." The National Hurricane Center also warned Irma would bring "life-threatening wind impacts to much of Florida regardless of the exact track of the center." Moreover, wind hazards were also expected to extend into areas of Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina due to Irma's size and strength.
Earlier in the weekend, Florida officials ordered more than 6.5 million people to evacuate in what the New York Times has dubbed "one of the largest emergency evacuations in American history." Irma's impact was already beginning to be felt early Sunday wind and rain pummeled the state and more than 1.3 million customers lost power. Irma is expected to move up Florida's west coast before turning inland over the Florida Panhandle and into Georgia.