Less than seven weeks to election day, we’ve reached the “attribute fake rally music to your opponent” phase of the 2020 presidential campaign.
There had been a minor freakout Tuesday when Biden showed up an event, produced a phone, and played the popular song “Despacito.” In context, however, the song drop made more sense, since Biden had been introduced at the event by Luis Fonsi, the composer and performer of that song.
The following day, however, President Trump retweeted a tweet featuring the same footage, only with “Despacito” spliced out in favor of “Fuck the Police,” the 1988 protest anthem from rappers N.W.A. The song was preceded by Biden saying “I just have one thing to say,” which was similar to the “yo Dre – I got something to say,” which often preceded performance of “Fuck the Police” during N.W.A.’s heyday.
It’s very clear that even a politician as gaffe-prone as Joe Biden would never use “Fuck the Police” at an official campaign event, and it’s also likely that Biden has probably never even heard of N.W.A.
It’s clearly meant to play to the Trump campaign’s strategy to imply that Biden is anti-police, or perhaps that he seeks to defund the police, even though the former vice president has been adamant that he does not support abolishing or defunding police, not that the president would have the power to do so anyway.
The tweet, in which Trump was sharing a video created by an account called The Shadow Spot, was soon marked as “manipulated media” by Twitter, but was not removed, leading to some grumbling about Twitter going easy on Trump. From the other side, however, Trump supporters were angry about the disclaimer:
As The Washington Post reported at the time, the FBI wrote a letter in 1988 expressing concern about “Fuck the Police,” and explicitly denouncing the song:
Ice Cube, despite his oft-vocal and controversial Twitter presence, has not yet addressed the Trump tweet.