Trump’s Infinite Playlist
Even when you’re Donald Trump, you can’t always get what you want. That’s especially true when what you want involved playing the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at political rallies.
The song, by the Rolling Stones, has become a staple at Trump rallies since his first presidential run four years ago. Why? Apparently there’s just something about Mick Jagger in tight pants smoothly strumming on the guitar that really gets Trump supporters going.
Now the Rolling Stones are threatening to sue Trump over his use of the song. The band is originally from England, but apparently they’ve learned the American way, and if they were to rewrite the song today it would probably go more like, “you can’t always get what you want, but you can always sue about it.”
At this point, Trump’s foreign policy has really been exemplary for future presidents: cozy up with Putin and Kim Jong-un; do battle with beloved English rock bands.
The Rolling Stones aren’t alone among musical artists in their distaste for Trump. The President has also been criticized by Queen, Adele, Rihanna, and R.E.M. for using their songs at various rallies. But what can he do? If Trump were only to play music by artists that support him, he’d end up with a playlist of all the country singers no one’s heard of who were criticized for holding concerts during Coronavirus and Kanye West.
Four years ago, Neil Young took action to stop Trump from playing “Rockin’ in the Free World.” This is a song that is explicitly about criticizing the Republican politics so it’s unclear why Trump liked it so much. Maybe it just reminded him of a simpler time when lyrics like “we’ve got department stores and toilet paper” still rang true.
Trump’s spokesperson responded to Young by saying that Trump “is a big fan and likes Neil very much.” (Which also sounds like the form letter Trump sent out to every porn star before Stormy Daniels agreed to have an affair with him).
It’s hard to say how much legal precedent the Rolling Stones have for their lawsuit or to estimate the likelihood of their success. But one thing is clear: when you get off scot free for abuse of power and obstruction of congress, it’s probably not going to be a 76 British rocker that finally takes you down.