Cardi was too young to be president then, and still is, at just 27, but she has upheld the ethos of her made-up political party, regularly sharing her opinions on issues including immigration and the coronavirus pandemic. In the years following her 2017 breakout, her brash commentary and pointed criticism of President Trump has earned her praise from like-minded fans and politicians — as well as some criticism from the president’s supporters.
So, it wasn’t surprising when Elle magazine revealed earlier this week that the rapper, who appears draped in diamonds on the September cover, had interviewed former vice president Joe Biden as he was looking forward to accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. With that exchange in mind, we took a look at some of Cardi’s other notable political moments.
2016 presidential campaign
Cardi B was always outspoken as a reality star, and — with her fan base growing — her attention turned to politics ahead of the 2016 election. As the presidential primaries got underway that year, Cardi urged her fellow Americans to “vote for Daddy Bernie,” in an endorsement like none other.
Cardi expounded on her support for Sanders in an interview that March with Power 105.1′s “The Breakfast Club.” “I do want to vote for Bernie [Sanders],” she said before expressing some skepticism around his campaign promises. “Like, for example, he wants to stop racism. It’s like that’s not going to happen. There’s certain things you just can’t do. What are you going to do? Go burn a bunch of Confederate flags in Virginia Beach and … Mississippi? It’s just not going to happen."
She was less impressed with Sanders’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. “I do like Hillary just because she’s a woman, and I feel like she’s a strong woman,” Cardi said. “However, I just sometimes feel like she’s being a little fake.”
The following month, Cardi expressed concern over Trump’s unorthodox campaign, which she lamented — in the aforementioned VH1 promo — was “making a mockery” of the political process.
When Nov. 8 arrived, Cardi had put her Clinton ambivalence aside and urged her social media followers to do the same as they cast their ballots. “Vote Hillary,” read a meme posted to her Instagram account. “[I don’t care] if she’s a liar, ya’ll boyfriends lie to ya’ll everyday."
That night, Cardi made her foray into political punditry on a live election special hosted by fellow Bronx natives, Desus Nice and the Kid Mero, on Viceland. With returns pointing to a potential Trump victory, the hosts asked the rapper how she was feeling. “He definitely got me nervous,” she confessed, even as Mero reminded her of her growing wealth (schmoney in the rapper’s parlance). “He might take my money away,” said Cardi, who is of Trinidadian and Dominican descent.
Colin Kaepernick and the NFL
With her rap career in full swing in 2017, Cardi B continued to be outspoken about issues important to her. As Colin Kaepernick remained unsigned going into the NFL season, following his sideline protests against police brutality, Cardi B gave the quarterback a shout-out at the MTV Video Music Awards. “Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel with us, we gonna be standing for you, baby,” she said to applause. “That’s right, I said it.”
That September, as her breakout single “Bodak Yellow” surged to the top spot on the Hot 100 chart, Cardi reiterated her support for Kaepernick in an interview with Billboard. “Why is our president so concerned about what football players is doing when the … world is going in shambles?” the rapper said. “You got this man from North Korea that’s talking about he’s declaring war, which — I don’t know, declaring war on who? Don’t declare war on us. We don’t want that beef.”
Kaepernick’s battle with the NFL was still on Cardi’s mind as she prepared to release her debut album, “Invasion of Privacy,” in the spring of 2018. Following that year’s Super Bowl, TMZ asked the rapper when she saw herself performing at the big game. She offered a succinct answer: “When they hire Colin Kaepernick back.”
Politics 101: FDR
By 2018, Cardi B was a bona fide household name. And her wealth had increased accordingly, which led the rapper to ask questions about what, exactly, Uncle Sam was doing with her tax money. “When you donate to a kid from a foreign country, they give you updates of what they’re doing with your donation,” she reasoned, noting that her native New York City had recently been voted the “dirtiest city in America.” Many outlets, including this one, responded with detailed explainers that broke down of how Cardi’s tax money might be appropriated — and clarified some jurisdictional issues around her complaints about New York City.
But the rapper was the one doing the schooling when it came to presidential factoids, a longtime passion that became a point of interest as she made the rounds promoting her debut album. Cardi drew a distinction between Trump and her favorite U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“He helped us get over the Depression, all while he was in a wheelchair,” she explained in an April 2018 interview with GQ. “Like, this man was suffering from polio at the time of his presidency, and yet all he was worried about was trying to make America great. … He’s the real ‘Make America Great Again,’ because if it wasn’t for him, old people wouldn’t even get Social Security.”
The profile also outlined her support for strict gun control — and her response to those who criticize celebrities for speaking out about issues.
“I’m always watching the news. I’m always looking at it on my phone. I hate when you talk about something that’s going on in the community, people think, because you’re famous, you doing it for clout,” she told the magazine. “But you concerned about it because you are a citizen of America; you are a citizen of the world.”
In response to the interview, Sanders praised Cardi’s assessment of the 32nd president: “Cardi is right.”
Critiquing President Trump
Cardi’s criticism of Trump has never been in short supply, but the rapper has centered her most incisive commentary on issues affecting everyday Americans.
Just over a week after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in mid-September 2017, Cardi noted that Trump had yet to visit the island. “PR is part of the USA,” she tweeted. “Don’t forget about the island.”
In January 2019, when Trump’s demand for a wall at the border between the United States and Mexico led to a partial government shutdown, Cardi — the child of immigrant parents — took to social media to slam the president. “Trump is now ordering, as in summonsing, federal government workers to go back to work without getting paid,” she said in a video posted to her Instagram account, adding: “Our country is in a hellhole right now, all for a … wall.”
Her frank comments were praised by other Trump critics, including two Democratic senators who publicly pondered whether they should share the rapper’s profanity-laced message. They ultimately concluded that it “wouldn’t be senatorial.”
Not everyone appreciated Cardi’s political commentary, though. Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren mocked her as “the latest genius political mind to endorse the Democrats,” prompting a scathing tweet from the rapper. “Leave me alone I will dog walk you,” she wrote.
2020 presidential campaign lead-up
Cardi was still firmly in Sanders’s corner when he announced his candidacy in February 2019. That spring, she reiterated her support in an interview with Variety. “I’m a always go with Bernie,” she told the magazine, citing his longtime public service and his activism during the civil rights movement.
In the summer, she teased a campaign video the pair did together. Filmed at a Detroit nail salon, Cardi and Sanders discussed issues ranging from the economy to police brutality.
Bernie’s out; Biden’s in
Even after Sanders exited the race in April, Cardi continued to align herself with her preferred candidate. During a virtual hangout on Instagram Live, the rapper teased Sanders about his “quarantine nails” before launching into a discussion about the pandemic and Sanders’s endorsement of Biden.
Cardi B would eventually follow Sanders’s lead, throwing her support behind the former vice president. “I spoke to Joe Biden. I know him,” she said in a “Breakfast Club” interview earlier this month. "Knowing him and everything, I think he’s getting it. I think he understands the people’s pain. He’s getting what we want. People think we want so much, but we want really simple things if you really think about it.”
Her Elle chat with Biden covered numerous issues significant to the upcoming election. But the main takeaway was summed up by the rapper, who told Biden “I just want Trump out.”
Her support for Biden notwithstanding, Cardi is already thinking beyond 2020. She recently expressed her hope that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a 30-year-old congresswoman and Sanders ally, will run for president once she meets the age requirement. Ocasio-Cortez, in turn, jokingly co-opted the acronym behind the title of the rapper’s chart-topping collab with Megan Thee Stallion. (We can’t tell you what the song title stands for in a family newspaper, so we’ll go with AOC’s apt placeholder: Women Against Patriarchy.)
But there may be yet another candidate Cardi B thinks she could eventually get behind — one she alluded to in a tweet earlier this year. “I think I want to be a politician,” she wrote.