The hashtag #StarWarVII has been trending on Twitter since early Monday, prompting President Donald Trump to tweet that he was not attending the new Star Wars film due to a scheduling conflict.
“I wasnt supposed to be there tonight, so please stop asking about it,” Trump wrote in one tweet.
“Gimmes a break!”
He added that “if they want me to go to Star Wars VII they can come up with another date.”
Trump, who had been expected to be on the Star Wars set, is expected to attend the film’s premiere on Wednesday night at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
But the president did not address the controversy when he took to Twitter Monday evening to defend his decision to attend.
“The movie is great and everyone is excited to see it, but I can’t go because I have to go,” Trump said.
“No, I can go, I don’t want to go.”
On Sunday, Trump also claimed that he had been invited to attend a screening of the film, despite not being present at the event.
“Can you imagine what would happen if I didn’t show up?” he wrote.
“People would be boycotting it, boycotting the theaters, boycotts on Amazon and so on.
I would get in trouble!”
Trump’s tweet came after several prominent Republicans have distanced themselves from his remarks.
“If we want to be inclusive, we need to stop being so mean-spirited and just stop,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted.
“We must stop the kind of divisive rhetoric and hate speech that has divided us.”
The White House did not respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the film for being “fake news,” claiming that it is a “disgrace to American values.”
The president has also accused the Academy of Oscars of bias against Star Wars fans.
“This is a terrible waste of time and energy,” he tweeted Sunday.
“Star Wars is a great film.
It is one of the best movies ever made.
But it is not what the Academy wants.
The Academy and their members are very proud of their film.”