Donald Trump played multiple Neil Young songs during his Fourth of July weekend event, and the artist in question is fuming. Footage of the rally, which Trump held at Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, showed two of the Toronto-born rocker's songs, "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Like a Hurricane," being played over a PA. Additional footage showed organizers playing "Rockin' in the Free World" after the POTUS spoke.
Young became aware of this use of his songs after the event and was clearly not pleased. He took to Twitter to make sure fans knew he was "not OK" with the campaign playing the songs. He went on to say he stands "in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux." (Mount Rushmore is in the Black Hills, land that was promised to the Sioux before the U.S. forcibly reclaimed it.)
This is NOT ok with me... https://t.co/Q9j9NRPMhi— Neil Young Archives (@NeilYoungNYA) July 4, 2020
This exchange is not the first time Young, 74, has taken Trump to task for using his recordings. On Feb. 18, the "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold" singer-songwriter blasted the head of the executive branch for being "a disgrace" to the U.S. He singled out the Trump campaign usage of "Rockin' in the Free World" as an action he despised.
"You are a disgrace to my country. Bragging about the US economy does not disguise the fact that the numbers today are what you inherited almost 4 years ago," Young wrote on his website. "Your mindless destruction of our shared natural resources, our environment and our relationships with friends around the world is unforgivable. Your policies, decisions and short term thinking continue to exacerbate the Climate Crisis.
I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me https://t.co/iPVcFplOHa— Neil Young Archives (@NeilYoungNYA) July 4, 2020
"Our first black president was a better man than you are. The United States of America, my country, is not a green on one of your branded golf courses that you can ride around on and damage so that other players cannot shoot straight. 'Keep on Rockin' in the Free World' is not a song you can trot out at one of your rallies. Perhaps you could have been a bass player and played in a rock and roll band. That way you could be on stage at a rally every night in front of your fans, if you were any good, and you might be..."
He added, "Every time 'Keep on Rockin' in the Free World' or one of my songs is played at your rallies, I hope you hear my voice. Remember it is the voice of a tax-paying US citizen who does not support you. Me."
Young went on to say he didn't "blame the people who voted for" Trump since they have the "right to express themselves." However, he vowed that "we are going to vote you out and Make America Great Again," quoting Trump's campaign slogan.