Taylor Swift has made her most direct comment on the 2020 election yet, addressing President Donald Trump and his recent violent threats aimed at protesters. “After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’???” she wrote on Twitter. “We will vote you out in November.” The pop star, whom fans criticized for her silence during the 2016 presidential election, tweeted amid the third day of protests in Minneapolis against the death of George Floyd, who died shortly after an officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck during an arrest, even when Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Protesters are demanding charges be brought against the four officers involved, all of whom have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department.
The night of May 28, uprisings in Minneapolis culminated in protesters setting fire to the Third Precinct police station after police evacuated the area. In response, Trump threatened protesters with military violence, tweeting that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter has since hidden the tweet for violating rules against “glorifying violence,” but did not take it down because it was deemed “in the public’s interest.”
Taylor Swift made some of her first political comments in 2018, endorsing Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen for Senate over controversial Republican Marsha Blackburn, along with incumbent Democrat representative Jim Cooper. (While Bredesen lost, Cooper kept his seat.) Her comments then led to a reported single-day surge in voter registration. Her January documentary Miss Americana showed her tearfully crafting her Instagram endorsement of the candidates. Speaking in 2019 to the Guardian about her new album Lover, she also confirmed that she voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016 but worried about going public after watching the fallout from the Dixie Chicks’ criticism of George W. Bush in 2003.