TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Neil Young says it was “not okay” for Trump to use one of his songs at an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore.
The president made an appearance at the South Dakota monument Friday night ahead of the 4th of July holiday. Young’s 1989 song “Rockin’ in the Free World,” was played over loud speakers.
“This is NOT ok with me,” Young wrote on Twitter Friday night. He later wrote, “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me.”
A group of Native American protesters had blocked the road to the national monument in the hours leading up to Trump’s speech. Fifteen were arrested.
The Black Hills, where Mount Rushmore resides, is a sacred area for the Lakota Sioux tribe. In 1980, The Supreme Court ruled it should still be Native land.
“Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty then the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States called Mount Rushmore,” Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe said in a statement. ”We are now being forced to witness the lashing of our land with pomp, arrogance and fire hoping our sacred lands will survive.”
President Trump went on to deliver an incendiary speech, in which he criticized “cancel culture” and warned of a “left-wing cultural revolution.”
“This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore,” Trump said. He lamented “cancel culture” and charged that some on the political left hope to “defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.” He said Americans should speak proudly of their heritage and shouldn’t have to apologize for its history.
“They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive,” Trump said. “But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history and culture to be taken from them.”
In 2015, Young complained after the Trump campaign used the same song when Trump announced his presidential campaign. A campaign spokeswoman said, “Through a license agreement with ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ at today’s event. Nevertheless, we won’t be using it again — there are plenty of songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes Neil very much.”
They used it again in 2018.
“DT does not have my permission to use the song ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ at his appearances,” Young told Rolling Stone magazine in 2018. “Legally, he has the right to, however it goes against my wishes.”