The 1969 song played as Trump walked off Air Force One ahead of a rally in Freeland, Michigan, yesterday. It was a choice that understandably raised some eyebrows on social media, considering Fogerty’s blunt lyrics about class privilege, patriotism and the Vietnam draft, which the musician touched on his video.
Fogerty said he wrote “Fortunate Son” in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War after he’d been drafted himself and done his own stint in the military. Fogerty noted that during the draft, however, people of privilege frequently used their position and influence to avoid military service.
“I found that very upsetting that such a thing could occur and that’s why I wrote ‘Fortunate Son,’” Fogerty said.
Although he did not mention it specifically, Fogerty was likely alluding to the fact that Trump famously received five deferments to avoid serving during Vietnam, four for education and a fifth for “bone spurs.” During congressional testimony, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, said Trump had made up the fake injury to avoid serving.
Fogerty did, however, tie the opening lines of “Fortune Son” — “Some folks are born made to wave the flag, ooh their red, white and blue/But when the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief,’ they point the cannon at you” — to Trump’s recent use of federal troops to clear out Black Lives Matter protesters from Lafayette Square for a photo op in front of St. John’s Church.
“It’s a song I could’ve written now,” Fogerty said at the end of the video. “And so I find it confusing, I would say, 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.”