Longtime — and famously cranky — rocker Neil Young said Tuesday that he’s still not happy about President Donald Trump using his music at political rallies. He added that though he has every right to sue the president and his campaign, he won’t because the president has more pressing matters — namely the COVID-19 epidemic, Rolling Stone reported.
Trump has been using Young’s work for campaign and political events for years, which has not sat well with the musician.
The fight began in June 2015 when Trump played “Rockin’ in the Free World” immediately after announcing his candidacy for president. Rolling Stone noted at the time that a Young spokesman said the campaign “was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement.” The spokesman add that Young, who is Canadian, was a Bernie Sanders supporter.
The most recent dustup over Team Trump’s use of Young’s music came over the Fourth of July weekend, when the president also used “Cowgirl in the Sand” and “Like a Hurricane” for his Mount Rushmore event, Rolling Stone said.
He followed that with a tweet saying, “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me.” Sioux tribal leaders have called for the removal of the faces of U.S. presidents from Mount Rushmore. The believe the monument insults their people and mars their land.
Young posted a letter to the president on his website Tuesday to further complain about Trump’s use of his music “despite my previous requests.”
He said that though he could sue the president for unauthorized use of his music, he wouldn’t because Trump needs to be focused on dealing with response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because you are in charge of the Covid 19 response here in the USA, I will not sue you, (as certainly is my right) potentially distracting from your important work at hand protecting and saving American lives,” Young wrote. “With the enormous power you wield on our behalf, I wish you all the best in your critical battle to save American souls from this threat.”
“I know you will do your best for all Americans, regardless of political leanings. I give you my encouragement for your efforts to Unify America,” he aded.
Young, a declared supporter of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, recorded an updated version of “Lookin’ for a Leader” and released it earlier this month. “Looking for a Leader 2020” urges listeners to oppose Trump this November and vote for Biden.
The rocker closed his letter to the president suggesting that he listen to the song and and maybe use it for his next political event, saying “I believe it would be an interesting addition to your next rally.”