Who says the 2016 presidential campaign hasn’t been about the pressing issues of our times?
This weekend, GOP candidate Donald Trump and his surrogates addressed what’s surely on the minds of Americans as they turn out to the polls: hip-hop mogul Jay Z. And that’s after Republicans have spent a decent amount of airtime focusing on another kitchen-table issue, the rapper’s wife, Beyoncé.
The latest Jay-and-Bey presidential shade came on Saturday, when Trump mocked his Dem rival, Hillary Clinton, for surrounding herself with celebrities at campaign-closing get-out-the-vote rallies.
Trump singled out Jay Z, whom he found particularly offensive. “He used every word in the book last night,” Trump told the crowd, apparently referring to the lyrics to several songs the rapper performed at a Friday-night concert. “He used language last night that was so bad and then Hillary said, ‘I did not like Donald Trump’s lewd language.’ My lewd language. I tell you what, I’ve never said what he said in my life.”
Sounds a lot like the time that Trump supporter Betsey McCaughey tried to equate the real estate mogul’s infamous caught-on-mike comments about “grabbing women by the p—-” with Beyoncé’s lyrics to “Formation” — which McCaughey said made Clinton a hypocrite, because Beyoncé is the Dem’s “favorite performer.”
There was more piling on Sunday night, when during a CNN panel, Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes criticized Jay Z for a music video that depicts “mazel tov cocktails” being thrown at police officers (she meant, of course, “molotov cocktails” but whatever). This somehow reflected poorly on Clinton, per Hughes’s argument.
The GOP obsession with the musical power couple has a long history in the 2016 presidential contest. Trump bestie, former Arkansas governor and onetime presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee, mentioned them in his prerequisite-to-running memoir. In the book, he pondered whether Jay Z “is arguably crossing the line from husband to pimp by exploiting his wife as a sex object.”
And during the primaries, when attacking President Obama was the GOP script (remember that?), Huckabee criticized POTUS for letting his daughters listen to Queen Bey. “I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents . . . and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable for either a preteen or a teen in some of the lyrical content and choreography of Beyoncé,” he told People magazine.