The divisive GOP frontrunner bounded onstage Wednesday to the tune of "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" at the Stop the Iran Deal rally in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. The tea party-sanctioned event also featured Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), another primary competitor.
Hours later, Stipe responded.
"Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you — you sad, attention grabbing, power hungry little men," the R.E.M. frontman said through a representative in an email to Mic. "Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign."
Stipe was not alone in his disgust. Immediately after Trump reached the podium, fellow founding member and bass guitarist Mike Mills was asked if he approved. He responded with a simple tweet:
Mills seemed to regret being dragged into the Trump campaign circus, and said so in another colorful tweet moments later:
There is a proud tradition of popular bands bristling at the use of their music by politicians jockeying for elective office. Only 24 hours before the R.E.M. dust-up, the 1980s band Survivor balked at hearing their song "Eye of the Tiger," typically known as the theme song from the movie Rocky, provide a soundtrack for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who had been jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, and Cruz were both on hand for her release. Survivor's Jim Peterik, who co-wrote the song, tweeted his ire late Tuesday:
Other notably spurned political figures include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a lifelong Bruce Springsteen superfan who has been alternately ignored and insulted by "The Boss" for his labor unfriendly, conservative policies, though Christie did manage to snag a hug at a benefit concert in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
It would likely take a similar act of God to convince Stipe to embrace The Donald.