Donald Trump Using "We Are The Champions" By Queen Was More Offensive Than You Thought
Monday night as Donald Trump walked out to introduce his wife, Melania, a familiar 80s anthem by Queen played. In the song, lead singer Freddie Mercury belts out, "No time for losers 'cause we are the champions of the world." It may seem appropriate for someone obsessed with "winning" and "greatness," but Trump's use of "We Are The Champions" is actually extremely offensive. Mercury was gay and died of AIDS in the early '90s. Given the GOP platform's anti-LGBT planks, Trump's team never should have used the song.
The hypocrisy was pointed out be many Twitter users Monday night, including former San Francisco mayor and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. The band Queen was formed all the way back in 1970 and gay rumors quickly began about their front man. Mercury was with a woman, Mary Austin, at the time, but they split in 1976 and gay rumors began. He never addressed them publicly at first, responding to reporters' questions but never truly saying yes or no. By the '80s the rumors grew stronger as Mercury changed his onstage look. Then Mercury started to get sick.
The group stopped touring in the late '80s — it's thought Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in about 1987. Queen still put out a few records, but Mercury was nowhere to be seen. He made one of his last public appearances at the 1990 Brit Awards to accept the Outstanding Contribution to British Music award. He looked extremely gaunt but continued to ignore tabloid rumors about his health for over a year. Then in Nov. 1991, he released a statement:
Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.
He went on to site the importance of privacy to him, and less than 24 hours later he died. Since his death, Queen has gone on to raise millions of dollars for HIV/AiDS research, starting with a concert in 1992 that raised millions. Most recently Queen performed with Adam Lambert to remember the victims of the Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Given all this, it's unthinkable that Trump should use Mercury's song to try and get himself elected on on a Republican platform that supports anti-gay conversion therapy and repealing marriage equality. The attempts to just "soften" the anti-LGBT language were met with extreme resistance last week. As Lt. Gov. Newsom put it, "I'm not sure what Freddie Mercury would think of his music being played at the convention, but I do know that if he weren't a famous rockstar, he would have probably been greeted by a really high wall, because he represented everything Mike Pence and Donald Trump are scared of.
And it's true. We will never know what Mercury would have thought, but we do know what his former band members think. Brian May wrote on his website that Trump's campaign doesn't have permission from the group to use it the song:
This is not an official Queen statement, but I can confirm that permission to use the track was neither sought nor given. We are taking advice on what steps we can take to ensure this use does not continue.
May went on to say that regardless of his views on Trump's platform, the group doesn't allow their music to be used for political purposes. Trump probably won't respond to this — if only because Melania's plagiarism debacle will demand all of his attention. But don't forget that his is just one more example of Trump's lack of empathy and self-centeredness. And that's not very presidential.