‘F— that. I don’t care’: Taylor Swift is unafraid of backlash for going after Trump

  • 02/01/2020 2:54 pm ET Dara Brewton
'Trump in a wig': Taylor Swift slams the President and Sen Blackburn in new Netflix biopic

Source / Wikimedia

Music icon Taylor Swift has kept her political leanings to herself in the past, but with the release of her new Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, she is proving that she isn’t afraid of going after the current administration or even Trump himself.

The singer-songwriter has spent her entire young adult life in the spotlight. Yet, for most of that time, she has kept quiet about anything political. In 2016, one of Google’s top searches was “Who is Taylor Swift voting for?” A question that remained a mystery at the time. Over the last couple of years, however, she has started to be more public with her opinions.

Miss Americana will truly kick off her political awakening. In it, Taylor unequivocally decides to take the “masking tape” off of her mouth and speak her mind—saying “F*ck that” to any backlash that may occur.

Follow the path of Swift’s awakening from subtle hints to flat out blaming the President for gaslighting the nation.

A Newfound Obsession

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening 2

Source / Wikimedia

There have been inklings of Swift’s leanings in the past with things like making a public donation in support of a student-led gun control rally shedding a little light on where she might fall in the political spectrum.

She also told The Guardian that she was pro-choice when asked about the restrictive Tennessee abortion laws.

Now, Swift admits that she is “obsessed” with politics, and she is striving to learn everything she can on the subject. She admitted that the obsession was spurred by the Trump presidency.

“Really, I keep trying to learn as much as I can about politics, and it’s become something I’m now obsessed with, whereas before, I was living in this sort of political ambivalence, because the person I voted for had always won. We were in such an amazing time when Obama was president because foreign nations respected us. We were so excited to have this dignified person in the White House. My first election was voting for him when he made it into office, and then voting to re-elect him. I think a lot of people are like me, where they just didn’t really know that this could happen.”

She has also urged Democrats to come together and just “get in the car.”

“We need to stop dissecting why someone’s on our side or if they’re on our side in the right way or if they phrased it correctly. We need to not have the right kind of Democrat and the wrong kind of Democrat. We need to just be like, ‘You’re a Democrat? Sick. Get in the car. We’re going to the mall.’”

Nothing Worse than White Supremacy 

Nothing Worse than White Supremacy

Source / Wikimedia

In the past, Swift has been used as a poster child for certain white supremacy groups. There were rumors spread that she “secretly espouses far-right” views. Plus, she was called an “Aryan goddess” by a far-right website.

There were those in 2016 that believed Taylor Swift was simply waiting for Trump to become president before admitting that she was a die-hard MAGA hat wearer.

Why did the white supremacists adore Swift? NPR breaks it down as a question of criteria—”Swift is white, she looks white, and she hangs out with mostly white people.”

Swift apparently didn’t know about the praise coming from this sector of the population until asked about it by a Rolling Stones interviewer.

“I didn’t even see that, but, like, if that happened, that’s just disgusting. There’s literally nothing worse than white supremacy. It’s repulsive. There should be no place for it.”

‘Two nasty women’

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening'Two nasty women'

Source / Wikimedia

Swift proudly calls herself a Democrat now, but her affiliation wasn’t known during the 2016 election. The most she was willing to share was an Instagram photo of her in line at the polls. She did urge her fans to vote but didn’t mention whom she would be casting her own ballot for.

Her silence is something that she regrets now, but she isn’t sure that her endorsement of Hillary Clinton would have proved useful in beating Trump. She worried that her canceled status during the campaign would have actually hurt Clinton’s chances.

“Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement. He was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew I wasn’t going to help. Also, you know, the summer before that election, all people were saying was she’s calculated. She’s manipulative. She’s not what she seems. She’s a snake. She’s a liar. These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women. Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses.”

The #MeToo Moment 

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening The #MeToo Moment 

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The following year, Swift become part of the #MeToo movement when she sued former-DJ, David Mueller, in a sexual assault case. Sharing her story and speaking out against her abuser put the singer in the midst of the #MeToo movement.

Mueller slid his hand up the singer’s skirt during a press photoshoot. When Swift reported the assault, Mueller was fired. He attempted to sue her for $3 million, but he ended up having to pay her a symbolic $1 after she won her counter-suit.

She didn’t hold back when describing the incident in court saying, “He stayed latched onto my bare ass cheek.”

“I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forgo any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened…I’m told it was the most amount of times the word ass has ever been said in Colorado Federal Court.”

Swift’s candidness landed her a Time magazine cover in 2017. She was called a “silence breaker,” and her testimony was lauded as one of the “major milestones in the conversation around sexual harassment.”

The (In)famous Instagram Post 

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening The (In)famous Instagram Post 

Source / Wikimedia

The following year, Swift took a big leap into the political arena with a single Instagram post urging her followers to vote against Marsha Blackburn who was running for a Tennessee Senate seat. She pointed to Blackburn’s voting record against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act as a major reason to vote for her opponent Phil Bredesen.

“I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.”

She also reminded her fans that it was necessary to register to vote saying, “Hey, just so you know, you can’t just roll up.” Vogue reports that Vote.org saw 65,000 new registered voters in the 24 hours immediately following Swift’s post.

The White House Response

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening The White House Response

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Her fans weren’t the only ones to take notice of her new political stance. President Trump spoke to reporters the following day in defense of Blackburn saying, “I’m sure Taylor Swift doesn’t know anything about her. Let’s say I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, OK?”

Kelly Anne Conway also referenced the Instagram post in an interview where she claimed the singer’s attempt to go “head to head” with Trump was unsuccessful because Blackburn, the Trump-endorsed candidate, won the race. Conway claimed that Swift “lost handily.”

An LGBTQ Ally 

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening An LGBTQ Ally 

Flickr / marcen27

The music star cemented her status as an LGBTQ ally in 2018 because of a conversation with her friend Todrick Hall. She told a Vogue interviewer that she was caught off guard when Hall asked her “what would you do if your son was gay?” She was shocked that Hall felt the need to ask, “If my son was gay, he’d be gay. I don’t understand the question.”

Since her friend, Hall, wasn’t sure of her stance, Swift wondered if her “fans in the LGBTQ community” might also be wondering whether she was an ally.

“Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male. I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of.”

Hall was proud of Swift’s allyship, especially knowing that by speaking out she could lose a few fans “in the bible belt and in the midwest.” He praised her commitment to the cause.

“I didn’t see her wince or be like ‘I don’t know if I should do this.’ She was 100% like ‘this is something that needs to happen that I need to do.’”

Calm Down and Sign the Petition 

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening Calm Down and Sign the Petition 

Screenshot / YouTube

In June of 2019, Swift released her pro-LGBTQ video for her song “Calm Down.” The last frame of video requests that viewers head to change.org to sign her petition supporting the federal Equality Act—legislation that would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act.

The petition garnered half a million signatures with names like Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren on the list. Swift also posted a photo of a letter she wrote to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on Instagram urging him to vote “yes” for the Act. The letter, written on her own personal letterhead, called out Trump for his lack of support saying, “I personally reject the president’s stance.”

The video itself earned Swift a little backlash most specifically from a Colorado pastor who warned: “God will cut her down.” However, it didn’t stop her from winning Video fo the Year where she used her acceptance speech to call out Trump and the White House for not responding to her petition.

“At the end of this video there was a petition — and there still is a petition — for the Equality Act, which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law. And I want to thank everyone who signed that petition because it now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.”

Swift then looks pointedly at the camera tapping her watch. Her speech at the award show got a response from the White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere who attempted to explain why the White House doesn’t support the Equality Act:

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, the House-passed bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”

Calling out Trump 

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening Calling out Trump 

Source / Wikimedia

Swift continued to get more and more vocal in her objection to the Trump administration especially with its response to the Equality Act. She claimed to “personally reject the President’s stance.”

“One cannot take the position that one supports a community while condemning it in the next breath as going against ‘conscience’ or ‘parental rights.’ That statement implies that there is something wrong with being anything other than heterosexual and cisgender, which is an incredibly harmful message to send to a nation full of healthy and loving families with same-sex, non binary or transgender parents, sons or daughters.”

She also admitted in a Guardian interview that she plans to continue to get more and more vocal in the upcoming year saying that Trump believes the U.S. is an “autocracy.”

Swift also pointed out the way that the current administration is “gaslighting” voters by making the public think “if you hate the president, you hate America.”

Swift Says “I Don’t Care”

The path of Taylor Swift's political awakening Swift Say 'F*ck' it

Screenshot / YouTube

Now, in 2020, Swift is not holding back. In her new Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, she is telling it like it is. She calls Blackburn “Trump in a wig” and doesn’t bat an eye when her publicist warns of potential backlash for getting too political. When warned that the President may personally come after her, Swift replies “I don’t care.”

Her publicist may be worried that Swift is headed down a dangerous path similar to that of the Dixie Chicks, but Swift doesn’t seem to mind. She regrets not speaking out sooner.

“It’s time to take the masking tape off my mouth forever,” she says.

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