Former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty has written a cease and desist letter to President Donald Trump's campaign to get them to stop using the band's anti-war classic song "Fortunate Son" during Trump's events. After a video of Trump with the song blaring in the background went viral last month, Fogerty said he found Trump's use of the song "confounding" because of its meaning. The song is a direct criticism of the children of wealthy Americans who avoided being drafted during the Vietnam War.
In a letter Fogerty shared on Twitter Friday, Fogerty said he objected to Trump using "my words and my voice to portray a message that I do not endorse," so he issued a "cease and desist" order. "I wrote this song because, as a veteran, I was disgusted that some people were allowed to be excluded from serving our country because they had access to political and financial privilege," Fogerty, who was drafted, wrote. "I also wrote about wealthy people not paying their fair share of taxes."
Trump is a "prime example" of both issues, Fogerty wrote. "The fact that Mr. Trump also fans the flames of hatred, racism, and fear while rewriting recent history, is even more reason to be troubled by his use of my song," he concluded. Fogerty also included a photo of himself, taken while he was in the Army Reserve. Fogerty completed his service in 1968, after which he resumed his music career with CCR.
Trump has played the song often at campaign rallies, mystifying those who understand the song's meaning, just like his use of the Village People's "YMCA" and "Macho Man" and the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Trump himself did not serve in Vietnam, receiving five draft deferments, including one for "bone spurs." In September, Fogerty published a video on social media, once again explaining the song's meaning.
Fogerty said he wrote the song in 1969 because he was "very upset" to see "people of privilege, in other words, rich people or people of position, could use that to avoid the draft and not be taken into the military." He said Trump's use of federal troops to clear his path to Lafayette Park in the days after George Floyd's death was exactly the kind of event he was referring to in the song when he sang, "Some folks are born, made to wave the flag. Ooh, they are red, white, and blue. But when the band plays 'Hail to the Chief,' they point the cannon at you."
"It’s a song I could have written now," Fogerty said last month. "So I found it confusing that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact it seems like he is probably the Fortunate Son."
Fogerty is the latest musician to take legal action against Trump for using their music during his rallies. Neil Young objected to Trump using "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Devil's Sidewalk," while the Tom Petty estate sent a cease and desist letter to stop Trump from using "I Won't Back Down." Phil Collins also sent Trump a cease and desist letter over the use of "In The Air Tonight."