Donald Trump has been playing “Rockin’ in the Free World” at his rallies over the past four years despite the fervent objections of Neil Young, who has often reluctantly noted that he has no legal right to stop him as long as the campaign pays the proper licensing fees.
But in a new post on his official website, Young says he’s reconsidering that stance due to Trump’s response to the unrest in Portland, Oregon.
“I am changing my mind about suing President Trump,” he writes. “Reconsidering. I’m looking at it again. There is a long history to consider and I originally considered it, deciding not to pursue. But then President Trump ordered thugs in uniform onto our streets. His idea. He ordered it himself. This all DJT.”
“Trump has no respect for our military,” he continues. “They are now to be used on the streets of America against law-abiding citizens for a political charade orchestrated by a challenged president…These are thugs with no IDs shooting Americans on the streets. They are not our police. Our police should arrest these untrained thugs for breaking our laws.”
Trump is a long-time fan of Young’s music and has seen him in concert numerous times. “Rockin’ in the Free World” has been in the rotation at his rallies since the early days of the 2016 campaign, and he added “Like a Hurricane” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” into the mix during a South Dakota event earlier this month. “This is NOT OK with me,” Young responded on Twitter.
This is NOT ok with me… https://t.co/Q9j9NRPMhi
— Neil Young Archives (@NeilYoungNYA) July 4, 2020
Young endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primary, but he’s thrown his full support behind Vice President Biden ever since he secured the nomination. He even re-wrote his 2006 anti-Bush song “Lookin’ for a Leader” to spread the word about Biden’s campaign. “We had Barack Obama and we really need him now,” he sang. “The man who stood behind him now has to take his place somehow/America has a leader building walls around our house/Don’t know Black Lives Matter and we gotta vote him out.”
Young faces long legal odds if he decides to go through with a legal challenge over Trump’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World,” but that may not stop him from trying. “Imagine what it feels like to hear ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ after this president speaks, like it is his theme song,” Young writes. “I did not write it for that.”