Of all the names to come up multiple times over the course of a sitting President’s impeaching hearing, one might expect to hear those of politicians, diplomats, businessmen, and officials — rappers, not so much. However, throughout today’s impeachment hearing against Donald Trump, one rapper’s name popped up several times: ASAP Rocky.
The first mention came on Friday from Department of State official David Holmes, who recounted a conversation between Trump and US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in which Sondland advised Trump to “let [Rocky] get sentenced, play the racism card, give him a ticker-tape when he comes home” in regard to Trump’s involvement in Rocky’s Swedish arrest scandal earlier this year.
Per Holmes's testimony, Sondland advised Trump to let the A$AP Rocky thing go for a bit but then "play the racism card":
"… Let him get sentenced, play the racism card, give him a ticker-tape when he comes home." pic.twitter.com/F0HfZOx72b
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 16, 2019
Today, Sondland himself mentioned Rocky during his own testimony while trying to defend Trump, saying, “It’s true that the President speaks loudly at times. It’s also true — I think we primarily discussed ASAP Rocky — that the President likes to use colorful language. Anyone who’s met with him any reasonable amount of time knows this.”
Amb. Sondland: "Other witnesses have recently shared recollection of overhearing the call. For the most part, I have no reason to doubt their accounts. It is true that the president speaks loudly at times and it is also true — I think we primarily discussed A$AP Rocky." pic.twitter.com/D5hOwRQEBT
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 20, 2019
Passing over the generous description of Trump’s language as merely “colorful” — maybe he’s referring to the businessman’s tendency to bring up people of color in derogatory ways, like calling Latinos rapists and his unfortunate use of the phrase “my African American” — it’s undoubtedly odd to hear so many people with important positions in government fretting over a rapper from Harlem with such a strong interest in fashion that he designed new uniforms for the prison where he was detained. 2019 has been a trip.