So much for southern hospitality.
In the latest effort of campaign sabotage, the national organization devoted to electing Republicans in the Senate has called two popular musicians set to play at a Democratic rally in Tennessee part of the “unhinged left.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) on Monday slammed singer-songwriters Ben Folds and Jason Isbell with the political tarring hours before their performance at Democratic senatorial candidate Phil Bredesen’s rally in Nashville.
In a press release titled “Phony Phil partners with the unhinged left,” the NRSC argued that Folds’ support for Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 Democratic presidential race and Isbell’s “anti-Trump” comments serve as evidence of their “unhinged” left-wing politics.
Bredesen, who previously served as Tennessee’s governor, is the Democratic nominee against Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the race for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican who is often critical of President Trump.
“Despite Bredesen’s moderate act, he continues to embrace people who have made it a habit of insulting the Tennessee voters who proudly supported President Trump,” NRSC Spokesman Michael McAdams said in the statement. “Today’s fundraiser is the latest example that Phil Bredesen is completely out-of-touch with a majority of Tennesseans.”
Isbell’s “anti-Trump” comment referred to in the statement stems from an interview with Rolling Stone last year. “God is gone from those people,” said the musician, referring to Christian voters who supported the president.
Despite having their values questioned by the GOP, the two musicians will play at Bredesen’s “Our County, Our Future” event, set to bring together "Tennesseans of all political stripes who are excited about Bredesen's candidacy," according to The Tennessean.
Despite seeking to flip the seat—something he did when he became governor—Bredesen is running as a centrist Democrat. Unlike some of his Democratic peers, he doesn’t want to attain office by running largely against the Trump administration.
“I’m not running against Donald Trump. I’m running for getting some things done here in Tennessee,” Bredesen said last year. “The issues surrounding health care are real and they’ve got nothing to do with liking or not liking Donald Trump.
In response to the NRSC’s bizarre attack on musicians, Bredesen’s campaign noted that Folds has ties to the GOP, having played at an arts-focused event during the 2016 Republican National Convention.
“Jason Isbell is a champion for working men and women," Laura Zapata, Bredesen's communications director, shot back at the NRSC in a statement to The Tennessean. “Ben Folds is a leading advocate for arts education and he even played at the Republican National Convention. The swamp needs to spend less time worrying about these popular recording artists and more time looking into Marsha Blackburn’s ties to hate groups and Russian nationals, and her illegal coordination with dark-money groups in Washington.”
Isbell, meanwhile, seemed amused by his new “unhinged left” descriptor.
“I’ve been in the paper a few times now, but this one is my favorite,” Isbell wrote on Monday. “This is one I’ll be proud to show my grandkids.”
“2 Unhinged 2 Quit,” he later mockingly tweeted.