R.E.M. broke up almost a decade ago, but in a way they’re still rockin’. It’s not every band that can silence the president of the United States of America, especially if that president is Donald J. Trump. But silence President Trump is just what they did — again.
Friday our commander-in-chief was being his usual presidential self: going online to mock his opponents just after declaring a national emergency over an exaggerated border threat that he can’t fix himself because he failed at the art of the deal.
This time the American president didn’t use wordplay or jokey alliteration to belittle their names. Instead he posted a video that juxtaposes “greatest hits” from his recent State of the Union address — the one that had to be postponed because he had partially shut down the government over the aforementioned trumped-up border issue — with images of Democratic leaders looking sad. In the background was the R.E.M. mope classic “Everybody Hurts.”
You can’t see that video, because it no longer exists. That’s because the former members of R.E.M. — none of whom, perhaps unsurprisingly, are particular fans of Mr. Trump — briefly reunited to file a copyright infringement notice, as per CNBC. Twitter then quickly responded to the request.
Before they did that, though, they did some trolling of their own.
“World Leader PRETEND!!! Congress, Media–ghost this faker!!! Love, R.E.M.,” wrote the official R.E.M. Twitter account, dropping in a reference to a deep-ish cut off of their 1988 album Green.
By later that night, once the infringement claim had done through, the band’s bassist, keyboardist, and snazziest dresser Mike Mills declared victory.
This isn’t the first time R.E.M. has successfully gone after the president for using songs by a band that loathes him. Not long after Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015, he liked to play “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, their speed freak, apocalyptic hit that, on the U.S. Billboard Charts in 1987, peaked at 69 — the very number the president ruined the other day. The band was not happy, then as now, and they sent a cease and desist.
“Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you — you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign,” tweeted former frontman Michael Stipe to the man who would a year and change later enter office after failing to win the popular vote.
What R.E.M. song will Trump try to ruin next? We guess it has to be “Orange Crush.”