As the 2016 political campaigns bumble forward, Trump may be best remembered for his unconventional stage antics rather than his political ambitions.
Nobody ever said Donald Trump was a paragon of good taste — except The Donald himself, of course, for whom it’s all “fabulous.” For his critics? Not so much. There’s tastelessness galore there, they say, most of it obstreperously justified in the name of defying “political correctness.”
Amid the daily roar emanating from the Trump campaign, though, it’s hard to single out one instance of extraordinary tastelessness (and let’s not discount some poor standards expressed by other campaigns). But the performance at a Pensacola, Fla., Trump rally by the USA Freedom Kids – replayed 144,000 times and counting on YouTube — stands out.
The trio of local elementary and middle-schoolers, ranging in age from 8 to about 11, took the stage as a warm-up act for their hero, dressed in Star Spangled Banner-themed cheerleader outfits.
To the tune of “Over There,” they went through some not-quite-coordinated dance paces, complete with cute hip wiggles, and sang their song in sweet, little-girl voices.
It was the song that seemed to take Trump standards of taste to a parched desert all its own.
“Cowardice, are you serious? Apologies for freedom?” the girls murmured. “I can’t handle this! When freedom rings, answer the call!”
The girls spun and bumped energetically.
“On your feet, stand up tall!,” they continued. “Freedom’s on our shoulders, USA! Enemies of freedom face the music. Come on boys, take them down!” – with the finale raising the decibel level a few points. “President Donald Trump knows how to make America great. Deal from strength or get crushed every time.”
A few days later, late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel replayed the performance, repeating the last line about crushing America’s enemies. “Kids say the darnedest things. They really do,” Kimmel said.
In fairness to Trump, this was apparently not a campaign-produced show but the creation of the father of one girl, the littlest one with the dark pigtails. Jeff Popick said he penned the lyrics after he was inspired by Trump’s announcement of his candidacy.
“He has a methodology for success and winning that’s second to none,” Popick told Time. “To me, he’s always just been an inspiration.”
The cringe-worthy part of the USA Freedom Kids and their song isn’t the superpatriotic lyrics or even the blustery bellicosity, but the fact that it’s being sung by preteen children. Taking our enemies down and crushing those who challenge us are adult pursuits, involving matters that should be unfathomably distant from these little girls’ lives in Florida.
Could the girls have possibly had any idea what they’re singing about? Ultimately, is it fair to them?
As one online commenter on Time’s story put it, with his own disregard for political correctness: “Who the [bleep] puts that in a song sung by kids?”