There's nothing quite like seeing notifications pile up when it's your birthday. New friends, old friends, exes, aunts, cousins, forgotten pen pals all seem to come out of the woodwork with well wishes — and apparently not even politicians are safe from it. President Donald Trump wished California Rep. Maxine Waters a HBD, and given their less-than-perfect relationship, Maxine Waters clapped back at Trump's birthday tweet with a perfect burn.
Waters celebrated her 80th birthday on Wednesday, August 15, and among the many adoring people who showered her with birthday wishes was (surprisingly enough) Trump. "Happy Birthday to the leader of the Democrat Party, Maxine Waters!," the president tweeted. Which is, on the surface, a pretty nice and simple tweet (something the public is not very used to seeing from Trump on Twitter). But Waters wasn't about to let her beef with the president be water under the bridge just because he wished her a surprisingly cordial happy birthday. Instead, Waters took the opportunity to speak out for the kids who were separated from their parents as a result of Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy and have yet to be reunited with their families. She tweeted on August 15,
I sincerely appreciate the well wishes on my birthday! I'm blessed to be surrounded by my family and friends today, but I really wish that the 500+ children who remain separated from their families could be reunited with their parents to celebrate their birthdays.
Of course Waters wasn't tweeting directly at Trump, but she totally was. It's not the first time that she's called the president out on his immigration policy, either. At a June immigration rally in Los Angeles, Waters went right for Trump and asked "how dare [he]" separate children from their families. Waters said,
How dare you take the babies from mothers' arms? How dare you take the children and send them all across the country into so-called detention centers?
So it's probably not surprising that what may have prompted Trump's tweet in the first place wasn't terribly nice, either. As civil as it seemed on the surface, the president's tweet was likely a petty response to the fact that the day before her birthday, on August 14, Waters appeared on MSNBC and said that her "biggest birthday wish" would be to see Trump removed from office. Waters said,
My biggest birthday wish would be that we're able to get a leader of this country who represents us — who has the respect of all of our allies. Someone who has appreciation for the Constitution. Someone that doesn't lie... with these tweets. ... I would wish that we could remove him from office and go about getting the kind of president that we can all be proud of.
I think it's pretty clear that Trump didn't just decide to put his differences with Waters aside for a day to take the high road and wish her a happy birthday just because. Given what I know about their relationship, I'd say that tweet looks like a dig at Waters to say "lookie here, you didn't get your birthday wish because I'm still the president."
Well, Twitter burns are, as ever, a game that takes two. It looks like Waters isn't losing yet.