That’s one way to make an entrance. At the Republican National Convention on Monday evening, presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump walked onstage to introduce his wife, Melania Trump, in a scene set for a WWE wrestler. The moment, enhanced with dramatic lighting and fog, was set to Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
Trump’s choice of music raised eyebrows on Twitter. Queen responded via a statement on Twitter.
An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes - Queen
— Queen (@QueenWillRock) July 19, 2016
“My guess is that Freddie Mercury would not likely have been a Trump supporter,” tweeted The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, was bisexual and died of HIV-related complications in 1991. He was 45.
The 2016 Republican Party platform, as recently spelled out at the convention, explicitly “condemns” the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality.
“Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman,” the RNC wrote, “is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.”
In addition, Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, may have supported antigay conversion therapy as part of his 2000 campaign for Congress.
While campaigning for a seat in the House of Representatives, Pence detailed his policy platform on his website, which included an overhaul of the Ryan White Care Act. Passed in 1990, that legislation provides the greatest amount of federal funding for HIV and AIDS treatment, providing lifesaving aid to low-income people with HIV.
According to its website, the program “provides services to more than 512,000 each year, reaching approximately 52% of all those diagnosed with HIV in the United States.”
Pence argued on his campaign website that the program should be overhauled in order to “ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.” Instead he advocated that Ryan White Care Act funding be redirected “toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Prior to the most recent incident, Queen had asked Donald Trump to stop using the band’s songs at his public appearances, after what guitarist Brian May called an “avalanche of complaints.”
“We are taking advice on what steps we can take to ensure this use does not continue,” wrote May in an open letter posted to his website on June 8. “Regardless of our views on Mr Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool. Our music embodies our own dreams and beliefs, but it is for all who care to listen and enjoy.”
May, who referred to Trump’s campaign as “unsavory,” wasn’t the only musician upset with his band’s music being played at this week’s convention, held at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.
Howard Kaylan, former lead singer of the Turtles, tweeted his disapproval of “Happy Together” being played by the convention's house band. “I moan the use of a great song being corrupted by any megalomaniac,” he said.