The bad blood between Taylor Swift and Kanye West goes way back.
At the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards, he famously interrupted an acceptance speech by the then 19-year-old Swift for Best Female Video to say that Beyonce deserved the honor.
“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!” he said, leaving Swift in tears.
Now, their on-off feud has made the somewhat unlikely shift from the stage to the political arena.
West is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and will sit down with him for lunch at the White House this week, after meeting his wife Kim Kardashian earlier this year.
Last weekend, the rapper made headlines with an appearance on Saturday Night Live that ended with an off-camera defense of Trump, while sporting a red “Make America Great Again” hat.
“There’s so many times I talk to, like, a white person about this and they say ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.'” said West, who is 41.
“If someone inspires me and I connect with them, I don’t have to believe in all their policies.”
Swift got press for her politics as well, shedding years of silence on her views just a month ahead of crucial midterm elections to endorse two Democrats running in Tennessee, where she has lived for years.
The 28-year-old pop star is an outspoken feminist and backer of the #MeToo movement, but until she took to Instagram on Sunday, she had been famously apolitical. Not any more.
Swift appealed to her 112 million followers to register to vote and cast their ballots for Democrats running for the Senate and House.
“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” Swift said.
“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,” she added.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, 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. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization 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. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
Trump has been a vocal Swift fan in the past, tweeting her praises on several occasions, but the Republican president has dialed down his affection for her.
“Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, okay?” Trump told reporters on Monday.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential hopeful whose daughter Sarah Sanders is the White House spokeswoman, fired off a dismissive tweet.
“So Taylor Swift has every right to be political but it won’t impact election unless we allow 13 year old girls to vote,” Huckabee tweeted.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) October 8, 2018
The last laugh may be on Huckabee.
Kamari Guthrie of Vote.org told Buzzfeed News that voter registrations have surged since Swift’s Instagram post.
Vote.org had received 65,000 registrations within the 24 hours after Swift’s message, more than the 56,669 recorded in the entire month of August,” Guthrie said.
“Thank God for Taylor Swift,” Guthrie told Buzzfeed.
The White House meanwhile announced that West would have lunch with Trump on Thursday and would also meet with his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
“Topics of discussions will include manufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence, and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago,” Sanders said.
West has taken flak for his support of Trump, who won less than 10 percent of the black vote in 2016.
Despite Trump boasting regularly that black unemployment is at historic lows, only 10 percent of the African-Americans surveyed last month by Quinnipiac University said they like his policies.
That has not stopped West from singing Trump’s praises, and the president returning the favor.
“Republicans are delivering for African-Americans like never before,” Trump said at an election rally last week in Tennessee.
“And you saw that the other night with Kanye West,” Trump said in a reference to the rapper’s SNL appearance.
“How good was Kanye West?”