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Neil Young writes Trump open letter after U.S. president continues to use his music

Neil Young writes Trump open letter after U.S. president continues to use his music
WATCH ABOVE: Neil Young writes Trump open letter after Trump rally continues to use his music

Following Donald Trump‘s 4th of July rally at Mount Rushmore, where he played two of Neil Young‘s hit songs, the Canadian-American rocker has penned yet another open letter in response to the U.S. president’s use of his music.

“Although I have repeatedly asked you to please not use my music because it indicates that I support your agenda, you have always played my songs anyway at your gatherings, with no regard for my rights,” the Heart of Gold rocker wrote on Monday.

The brief letter was shared to the official Neil Young Archives website, where Young has previously condemned the American president on several occasions.

Instead of once again asking Trump to refrain from using his music at future rallies, Young, 74, suggested this time that Trump should listen to the recently released 2020 update of his 2006 song Lookin’ for a Leader, in which he criticizes the current president.

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A live performance of the song was included as part of Young’s latest instalment of his Fireside Sessions series last Wednesday: Porch Episode.

“America has a leader building walls around our house, who don’t know Black lives matter,” the Grammy Award winner sang of Trump. “It’s time to vote him out.”

In his most recent letter to the American leader, Young wrote: “I believe it would be an interesting addition to your next rally.”

Read more: 266 musicians perform quarantine cover of Linkin Park’s ‘In the End’

“This is not OK with me,” Young tweeted last Friday in his initial response to a video captured at Trump’s 4th of July rally, in which Rockin’ in the Free World can be heard playing over the PA system.

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Other users captured Young’s 1977 hit Like a Hurricane being played earlier on at the South Dakota event.

The land on and around Mount Rushmore is considered sacred to the Lakota Sioux people, who lived in the area before gold was found there.

On Friday, more than 100 protesters, many Indigenous, lined the road leading to Mount Rushmore holding signs and playing Lakota music in 35 C heat. Some held their fists in the air as cars loaded with event attendees passed by. Others held signs that read “Protect SoDak’s First People,” “You Are On Stolen Land” and “Dismantle White Supremacy.”

The protesters barricaded the road with vans, prompting police and National Guard soldiers to move in. A standoff ensued, with police using pepper spray on several protesters but taking no further action for several hours.

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In a second tweet on Friday, Young said he stands in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux and reiterated that he was “NOT ok” with Trump’s use of his music.

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For years now, Young has been open about his sour opinions of Trump.

In February, the folk-rock icon penned another open letter to Trump, calling him a “disgrace to my country.”

“Your mindless destruction of our shared natural resources, our environment and our relationships with friends around the world is unforgivable,” he wrote.

Neil Young blasts Donald Trump in online post about California wildfires
Neil Young blasts Donald Trump in online post about California wildfires

In the most recent letter, Young also noted that while Trump has continuously used his music at rallies, the president has previously called him “names on Twitter.”

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For example, back in 2015 — more than a year before he was elected president — Trump took to Twitter, calling the Heart of Gold singer a “hypocrite” while sharing a picture of the two posing together and shaking hands.

Read more: Neil Young sings ‘Lookin’ for a Leader,’ targets Donald Trump in ‘Fireside Session’

The Harvest Moon rocker also vowed that he “will not sue” Trump in the letter, despite claiming it was his “right.”

Young said he didn’t want to be “distracting” while Trump is in charge of the COVID-19 response in the U.S.

“With the enormous power you wield on our behalf, I wish you all the best in your critical battle to save American souls from this threat. I know you will do your best for all Americans, regardless of political leanings,” Young wrote.

“I give you my encouragement in your efforts to unify America.”

Coronavirus: Trump says U.S. has COVID-19 ‘under control’ as total deaths pass 130,000
Coronavirus: Trump says U.S. has COVID-19 ‘under control’ as total deaths pass 130,000

Within the last six months, more than 130,000 people in the U.S. have died as a result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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Currently, the nation has just under three million confirmed cases of the virus.

— With files from Global News’ Hannah Jackson

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca