The estate of rocker Tom Petty took a swipe at President Donald Trump over his campaign’s use of the late singer’s hit song “I Won’t Back Down,” during Saturday’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Tom Petty’s song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ was used today at Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, OK,” wrote Adria, Annakim, Dana, and Jane Petty, four the singer’s family members, in a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday evening. “Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” the statement read.
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) June 21, 2020
The statement suggest that President Trump — who has lifted a ban on federal funding of faith-based historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and who was honored with the “Bipartisan Justice Award” for his work on criminal justice reform — is racist.
“Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind,” read the statement. “Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
The statement ironically went on to mention that the song was written “for the underdog” and “the common man,” suggesting that the president — who raised tariffs on China, and renegotiated NAFTA, later replacing it with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — is not.
“We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn’t stand for this,” read the statement. “We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either.”
“We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage,” the statement added. “Concurrently, we have issued an official cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign.”
Of course, this is not the first time the president has been lambasted for using popular music on the campaign trail. In 2018, Rihanna and Axl Rose complained about President Trump using their music at political events, and in 2015, when the president was still a candidate, REM complained whined about then-candidate Trump using one of their songs at a campaign rally.