The year was 1991. Guns ‘N’ Roses were, by almost every conceivable measurement, the biggest rock band on the planet, riding high on the platinum-selling success of their albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. At that moment, the band had just began a massive world tour and were in the midst of a three-night residency in Madison Square Garden. To hear Doug Goldstein, the band’s former manager tell it, before one of the shows, he was approached by a local real-estate magnate who wanted to meet the band. Actually, he wanted to meet one member of the band specifically: Lead singer Axl Rose.
“He said, ‘Can you make a pass for me?’ I said, ‘Yeah sure.’ So, being quizzical, I said, ‘Why are you here?’” Goldstein asked the oddly-quaffed mogul. “He said, ‘I want to meet the Donald Trump of rock and roll.’” For someone as ego-obsessed as “The Donald,” bequeathing his name unto another person might be taken as the highest compliment in the known universe. “He said, ‘You know Doug, when you’re an underdog, everybody puts you to the top. Press, your fans, and once you get to the top, they jerk your ass back to the ground. That’s what Axl Rose is.’ So I introduced Axl to him after the show.”
In 1991, it was readily obvious as to how Trump could see a mirror image of himself in the wiry, swivel-hipped singer. Both were brash iconoclasts, given to mouthing off in the press, with whom they both had a fraught relationships. Both demanded the spotlight and knew how to use it to maximum effect. Both had definite, inter-personal relationship problems, demanding loyalty and subservience to those who entered their orbit. And both were distinctively American creations, becoming something of a fun-house mirror reflection of the society from which they had sprung.
Of course, as the years wore on, the similarities between Axl and Trump have diminished nearly completely. While Axl has become content to simply punch the clock, earn his — incredibly large — paycheck night in and night out in stadiums and arenas across the globe, spurning the press entirely, Trump is still on an unending quest for acceptance in the mass culture; his face and thoughts a daily intrusion into our lives. Axl has turned his back on some of his more outlandish and plainly racist ideas — see the song “One In A Million — while Trump has doubled-down on his own racially-charged views, recently calling a group of white supremacists, “Very fine people.” At least back in 1992, Axl had the good common sense to disavow David Duke, something Trump, in 2017, still only did with great reluctance. “We’d been told we’re the perfect house band for David Duke’s America,” Axl told Rolling Stone. “F*ck David Duke, I don’t like being associated with that.” Axl has become a human being; Donald Trump a caricature.
Over the last couple of years Twitter has evolved into a never-ending series of reactions to Trump’s wilder ideas and actions. Out of the din of voices screaming their displeasure with the President on a minute-by-minute basis, Rose has emerged as one of Trump’s most unexpected, harshest, and at times, actually hilarious critics. He still hasn’t given a formal interview to any member of the press in quite some time, but sure enough, whenever Trump or one of his associates makes a misstep or calls for some terrible policy change, you can very nearly bank on Rose firing off a Tweet of his own addressing the absurdity of the day.
Here then, collected, are some of Axl’s best retorts to the daily, weekly, monthly insanity that has become the Donald Trump administration. Axl Rose: Welcome to the resistance.
February 27, 2018: Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law loses his top secret clearance.
February 26, 2018: Ivanka Trump is asked by a journalist whether she believes the woman accusing her father of sexual misconduct, a question she decries as being “inappropriate.”
January 19, 2018: House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes is on the verge of releasing a partisan memo that claims the FBI, “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources,” while they continued to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
January 16, 2018: Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly states his opposition to legal marijuana while also calling for harsher immigration policy.
January 4, 2018: The White House asserts that it’s “disgraceful and laughable” to question Trump’s mental fitness
October 9, 2017: Vice President Mike Pence attends a Colts/49ers NFL game and leaves prematurely in a planned stunt after some of the players kneel during the National Anthem.
May 17, 2017: Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is named special counsel to oversee the probe into Russia’s meddling into the U.S. election after Trump fires the head of the FBI, James Comey.
March 27, 2017: Jeff Sessions publicly rails against U.S. “sanctuary cities.”
March 25: 2017: Axl shares an update in the Russia investigation.
March 17-18, 2017: Axl takes a shot at Trump’s cozy relationship with the Russians.
March 8, 2017: It’s International Women’s Day
January 9, 2017: Meryl Streep speaks out against Trump, which earns the President’s rebuke, calling her the “most overrated actress in Hollywood.”
November 19, 2016: Vice President Mike Pence attends a performance of Hamilton on Broadway. The actors onstage address him directly, asking him to “”Work on behalf of all of us,” which draws a wave of outrage from the conservative media.
November 18, 2016: Donald Trump chooses Jeff Sessions as his nominee to be Attorney General.