Taylor Swift’s recent embrace of politics continues apace. On Friday, the singer furiously tweeted at Donald Trump in response to his tweet threatening military violence against protesters in Minneapolis.
Earlier this week, George Floyd died in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck—despite protests from Floyd and onlookers that he could not breathe. The video has gone viral, and on Friday Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter in Floyd's death (all four officers involved in Floyd's arrest were fired from the Minneapolis police force). Protests, meanwhile, have erupted across the country.
On Friday morning, Trump responded to the heartbreak by threatening to send in the National Guard.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump wrote Friday morning. “A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.....”
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” the president continued. “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
After Twitter hid the tweet with a content warning that it “violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” the White House reposted Trump’s second quote.
“After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?” Swift tweeted. “‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November.”
For years, Swift avoided politics—including during the 2016 election. But in recent years, Swift has begun to open up about her political views. During an interview with Vogue last year, the singer clarified that she never believed her public support would help Hillary Clinton win the election; in fact, she suspected the opposite. "Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” Swift said. “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.”
Swift’s political awakening seemed to really begin in 2018, when she rallied her fans against Marsha Blackburn’s midterm Senate run in Tennessee.
“She voted against equal pay for women,” Swift wrote on Instagram. “She voted against the Re-authorization 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.”
“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions,” Swift added at the time, “but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
It’s unclear how Swift might next use her platform to interact with politics—but it seems clear she’s not finished yet.