Adele Tells Trump, and Every Other Politician, to Back Off

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump flashes the thumbs-up as he arrives on stage for the start of the prime time Republican presidential debate on Aug. 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Add Donald Trump to the long (long) list of politicians whose taste in campaign music has gotten them in trouble. The presidential candidate has been using Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" -- "there's a fire / starting in my heart" -- as walk-on music during his political rallies for some time now.

This video of an event from Jan. 21 shows Trump's daughter, Ivanka, introducing her father to the audience as "Rolling in the Deep" begins to play.


"Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning," says a spokesperson for the superstar in a statement provided to Billboard. (She might have more in common with Trump's policies than anyone would assume, taking issue with her tax bill in public comments, saying at the time that "I'm mortified to have to pay 50 percent!")

Not to be outdone, another presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, released a video last week featuring a satirical cover of Adele's most recent single, "Hello," addressing voters in Iowa. Huckabee told Fox News two days ago that the video was "shot on iPhones, for heaven's sakes." Huckabee's promo video has since been removed following actions from Adele's team. Huckabee told Fox she was being "very petty" about the video.


Now for the trifecta: New Jersey Governor and fellow presidential candidate Chris Christie has also employed "Hello," using its lyrics to attack competing candidate Marco Rubio.


The issue of political campaigns' usage of music is a thorny one -- licenses can be obtained by campaigns, but the question of whether that usage can be construed as endorsement, a part of the 1947 Lanham Act, leaves artists and rights holders with options for controlling that broadcast. As effective, perhaps, is an artist making it clear, publicly, their level of distaste for a politician using their song, a tool Adele wasn't forced to resort to.

Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.