On Tuesday, the White House and the drug czar will embrace a 9/11 truther — a pro-LGBT, ACLU-supporting, Grammy-winning one, albeit.
This week, the White House announced that it would host a screening of the upcoming MTV documentary, Prescription For Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis, which stars President Barack Obama alongside rapper and activist Macklemore. The event also includes an afternoon panel discussion on opioid addiction in America, featuring Macklemore and Michael Botticelli, who was sworn in as the National Drug Control Policy Director (a.k.a., the drug czar) early last year.
Earlier this year, Macklemore teamed up with the White House to record an appearance on Obama’s weekly radio address to help call on Congress to pass $1.1 billion in funding to combat opioid abuse and addiction.
“I’m here with President Obama because I take this personally,” Macklemore said in the address in prepared remarks, seated next to the president. “I have abused prescription drugs and battled addiction. If I hadn’t gotten the help I needed when I needed it, I might not be here today. And I want to help others facing the same challenges I did.”
Macklemore and the Obama administration’s celebrity-outreach wing are natural, ideological partners, at least in a couple respects. For instance, the Grammy winner is a big fan of abortion rights and marriage equality, having helped serenade a mass wedding of over 30 couples—gay, straight, interracial—at the Grammys in 2014. He devoted his American Music Awards speech to Trayvon Martin, and condemned racial profiling.
Still, the “Downtown” and “Thrift Shop” singer is a curious choice for the Obama White House, given his baggage—in this case, “Bush-did-9/11”-style baggage.
Macklemore has been accused of of being a 9/11 truther, someone who believes that the Bush administration played a role in perpetrating the September 11th terror attacks.
On the track “Bush Song” from his 2005 album The Language of My World, he rapped the lyrics: “Where’s Dick Cheney at? Probably off in Iraq / Findin’ some oil to tap, tell ’em I got up on that / And y’all still think it was bin Laden / When it was us and the Masons, plottin’ on oil profits.”
And in 2009, Macklemore tweeted the following:
The rapper has never publicly explained the lyrics and the above tweet, and Macklemore’s publicist did not immediately respond on Tuesday morning to an email seeking clarification or comment on the matter. (The White House didn’t, either.)
At least for now, his flirtations with 9/11 “Truth” are not enough to deter the White House from embracing him as a political ally.
“Addiction is like any other disease: It doesn’t discriminate, it doesn't care what color you are, whether you're a guy or a girl, rich or poor, whether you live in an inner city, suburb or rural America,” Macklemore said in his address with the president. “This doesn’t just happen to other peoples’ kids or some other neighborhood. It can happen to any of us.”