A week after President Trump retreated to an underground bunker and then vowed to use the country’s military against its own citizens to “dominate” peaceful protesters in the streets of Washington, D.C., he is being called out by law enforcement. Okay, disco law enforcement, but still.
Victor Willis, the badge-wielding lead singer of the Village People — the beloved dance act featuring hyper-masculine members including a soldier, construction worker and cowboy — posted a pointed message to the President about playing VP songs at his public events.
“If Trump orders the U.S. military to fire on his own citizens (on U.S. soil), Americans will rise up in such numbers outside of the White House that he might be forced out of office prior to the election,” wrote Willis, the “cop” of the group. “Don’t do it Mr. President!”
Like dozens of other acts, Willis also requested that the President refrain from playing his band’s songs at campaign rallies.
“I ask that you no longer use any of my music at your rallies especially ‘Y.M.C.A.’ and ‘Macho Man,'” Willis wrote of the group’s iconically camp 1978 hits.
Previously, the Village People had appeared to OK Trump’s use of their songs, telling fans, “Since our music is not being used for a specific endorsement, the President’s use is ‘perfect[ly]’ legal.'” A spokesperson for the group clarified to Billboard on Monday (June 8) that the group did not give Trump permission to use their songs earlier this year, but rather did not ask him to stop playing them at the time; but, in light of the commander-in-chief’s strong-arm tactics, the group has now shifted its position.
“Y.M.C.A” has long been considered a not-so-subtle homage to the YMCA’s reputation as a cruising spot for gay men, while “Macho Man” features lyrics as, “Every man wants to be a macho man/ To have the kind of body always in demand/ Joggin’ in the mornings, go man go, Workouts in the health spa, muscles grow.”
“Sorry, but I can’t support what you’re proposing,” Willis also said of the President’s militaristic posture. Trump eventually backed off sending members of the armed forces onto the city’s streets — and ordered the National Guard to begin pulling out over the weekend — but the threat prompted three former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to seriously condemn his administration’s use of troops armed with chemical irritants, flash-bang grenades and piloting low-flying helicopters to push peaceful protesters back from the White House in order order to stage a photo op in front of a church.
Willis joins a long list of artists who’ve requested that Trump stop playing their songs at his rallies, a roster that includes R.E.M. — who’ve threatened legal action — as well as Rihanna (“Don’t Stop the Music”), Pharrell (“Happy”), Guns N’ Roses (“Sweet Child o’ Mine”), Steven Tyler (“Livin’ on the Edge”), as well as Adele (“Rolling in the Deep“), Neil Young (“Rockin’ in the Free World“) and The Rolling Stones (“Start Me Up,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Brown Sugar”), as well as the estates of Prince (“Purple Rain“) and George Harrison (The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun“).