Pharrell Williams sent President Donald Trump a cease and desist notice after he played “Happy” at a campaign rally after the fatal Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
Trump was campaigning for Representative Mike Bost in Indiana where the song was played
Williams is not the first musician to send Trump a cease and desist
Trump visited the scene of the shooting despite advice to wait by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Pharrell Williams sent President Donald Trump a cease and desist letter after the song “Happy” was played on the same day as the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh at a political event in Indiana.
The Washington Post confirmed that “a version of the song “Happy” by Pharrell” was played at the event where Trump was campaigning for Representative Mike Bost.
In Indiana, Trump opened his remarks by speaking out against political violence and anti-Semitism. But he segued into his favorite topics, and the rally here had the incongruous feel of a somber tribute to yet another mass shooting in America and a campaign rally complete with cheers, put-downs and an upbeat soundtrack, including a version of the song “Happy” by Pharrell.
The letter — written by Williams’ lawyer Howard King — stated Trump was never granted permission for use of the song. In the letter, King demanded Trump no longer use Williams’ music.
There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose. Demand is hereby made that you cease and desist from any further unauthorized use of Pharrell Williams’ music.
Williams is not the first musician to send Trump a cease and desist. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler sent a cease and desist after Trump played “Livin’ on the Edge” at a campaign event in Charleston, West Virginia. Tyler, a Republican, says he would rather his music be left out of politics.
Tyler had already sent Trump two cease and desist letters in 2015 during his presidential campaign. Musicians such as Adele, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and REM’s Michael Stipe have also told Trump he is not allowed to use their music.
It was not just Williams that Trump upset following the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that claimed 11 lives. Trump announced he would go to the site of the shooting at the event in Indiana, despite being asked to wait until after the families were able to bury their dead. Trump ignored the requests and went to the site on Tuesday.
A list of officials asked to join Trump during his visit declined. It is reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are among those who could not join the president.
McConnell and Ryan’s offices claimed to have scheduling conflicts. Pittsburgh Republican Senator Pat Toomey declined the offer to join stating he had commitments in another part of the state.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto did not appear with Trump. Peduto had requested for Trump to postpone his visit as burials were beginning. It was reported that Peduto advised White House aides that it was too early for the trip.
A large number of protesters showed up in the streets against Trump’s visit. His visit to Pittsburgh comes amidst claims that his rhetoric played a role in the deadly shooting at Tree of Life and with several high-profile Democrats receiving pipe bombs earlier in the week.
Trump has 11 rallies planned before the election in a final attempt to boost the candidates he approves. It was reported that due to his campaign rallies, Trump could not prolong the trip to Pittsburgh.