Trump Is in a One-Sided Popularity Contest With Taylor Swift

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Many people are already getting tired of the Taylor SwiftTravis Kelce discourse, though we still have another 12 days to go until the Chiefs play the 49ers at Super Bowl LVIII. But no one is more frustrated by the tale of Miss Americana and her football prince than Donald Trump. All the talk about the pop star’s staggering popularity reportedly has Trump privately fretting over the possibility that he is not the fairest one of all. And the issue isn’t just that someone is getting more attention than he is; it also seems likely that Swift will support his presidential rival, Joe Biden, again, per Rolling Stone:

Behind the scenes, Trump has reacted to the possibility of Biden and Swift teaming up against him this year not with alarm, but with an instant projection of ego. In recent weeks, the former president has told people in his orbit that no amount of A-list celebrity endorsements will save Biden. Trump has also privately claimed that he is “more popular” than Swift is and that he has more committed fans than she does, a person close to Trump and another source with knowledge of the matter tell Rolling Stone.

Last month, the source close to Trump adds, the ex-president commented to some confidants that it “obviously” made no sense that he was not named Time magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year — an honor that went to none other than Swift in December.

Trump is famously obsessed with being Time Person of the Year. (While he did actually win this very silly honor in 2016, he later lied about being offered a second title, and had fake Time covers featuring himself in several of his golf clubs). So it’s a safe bet that he’s going to pick a fight with whoever gets the annual Time seal of approval over him.

But Trump’s issues with Swift run deeper. While she initially tried to stay out of politics, she began occasionally speaking out against his policies toward the end of his administration. And in 2020 she endorsed Biden while threatening to vote Trump out:

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Swift is at the top of the Biden reelection campaign’s “wish lists of potential surrogates.” Independent of his relationship with Swift, Kelce has infuriated Trump supporters by starring in advertisements for Pfizer’s COVID vaccine and Bud Light, two of the right’s big culture-war targets.

MAGA World is already having a meltdown over the Swift-Kelce Bowl; various Trump surrogates including Vivek Ramaswamy, Jeanine Pirro, and even the former president’s lawyer, Alina Habba, have gone after the couple in recent days. And according to Rolling Stone, if Swift backs Biden again they plan to wage war against her:

Meanwhile, as Trump has been having a popularity contest with Swift in his own head, others close to him — including GOP operatives, some of his 2024 staff, and Trumpy media figures — have been brainstorming different ways to go after Swift. Since late last year, these Trump allies have repeatedly discussed how to turn the culture-warrior dial up to 11, if she re-endorses Biden this year, the sources recount.

“It would be more fuel thrown on to the culture-war fires,” says an official working on the Trump reelection efforts. “Another left-wing celebrity who is part of the Democrat elite telling you what to think.”

Publicly, members of Trump’s inner sanctum and social circle are already signaling Swift’s prominent position atop their enemies list — a situation that has reached fever pitch now that Swift’s boyfriend will once again be playing in the Super Bowl.

So, to paraphrase The Dark Knight, let me get this straight. They think that Swift, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the world, is so universally beloved that she can swing an election by merely tweeting some positive things about Joe Biden to her 95 million Twitter followers — and their plan is to launch an all-out attack on this person?

Good luck!

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