UPDATED: Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose is only an occasional tweeter, so the odds that Secretary of the Treasurer Steven Mnuchin would have been someone the rocker would have chosen to take on as “officially an a–hole” would have seemed extremely slim before Wednesday night.
Even more improbable, until it happened Wednesday: Mnuchin accepting Rose’s invitation to “get in the ring,” as it were.
Addressing his 1.2 million Twitter followers, Rose wrote on Wednesday: “It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an a–hole.” (Sans our dashes.)
Mnuchin, not about to let this stand without a retort, answered back: “What have you done for the country lately?” He added an American flag as a kicker to his tweet.
One problem: that was apparently Mnuchin’s second version of his response, after he deleted the first. According to screen shots posted by White House correspondent Philip Crowther and other eagle-eyed Twitter followers, the treasury secretary’s first tweet included an emblem for the flag of Liberia, not the United States. (Although they look similar in miniature, the Liberian flag has one star where the American has, of course, 50.)
Late Wednesday night, Rose responded to Mnuchin, tweeting: “My bad I didn’t get we’re hoping 2 emulate Liberia’s economic model but on the real unlike this admin I’m not responsible for 70k+ deaths n’ unlike u I don’t hold a fed gov position of responsibility 2 the American people n’ go on TV tellin them 2 travel the US during a pandemic.”
The dust-up between the musician and the Trump administration figure ended there, for now, although there was a lot of wit to go around in subsequent responses among observers of this new Twitter feud.
“This is more a beef with Pompeo, but Axl did finally bring forth Chinese Democracy.” — @smk73
“Hey isn’t Liberia the flag most cruise ships fly under to avoid taxes and regulation?” — @TavernWench
“Well, just yesterday his version of Live and Let Die embarrassed the s— out of your useless boss, you traitorous human ball gag.” — @taradublinrocks (Guns N’ Roses’ version of “Live and Let Die” played over a PA system, to the shock of many, as the president toured a mask factory in Arizona on Tuesday.)
“Remember when Madeline Albright tried to stab Duff?” — @dickius
“Hey important unrelated side question what the f— do you guys have against using vowels in your name like normal people” — @KT_So_It_Goes
Rose has taken on the Trump administration in his intermittent tweets before, and sometimes in more verbose fashion, as he did on Nov. 10, 2018, when he responded to a presidential tweet blaming forest mismanagement for the devastating California wildfires by writing back: “Um…actually…it’s a lack of federal funding that’s at the ‘root’ of the purported forest mismanagement. Only a demented n’ truly pathetic individual would twist that around n’ use a tragedy to once again misrepresent facts for attempted public/political gain at other’s expense.” (Yes, Rose does use the n’ that appears in his group’s name, consistently, in everyday political prose.)
Around that same time, when Rose was being asked why the president was using GNR music at a rally, the singer answered, “As far as I’m concerned anyone can enjoy GNR 4 whatever reason n’ there’s truth 2 the saying ‘u can’t choose your fans’ n’ we’re good w/that… Having said that my personal position is that the Trump administration along w/the majority of Republicans in Congress n’ their donors that support him 4 their own agendas r doing r nation a disservice… We have an individual in the WH that will say n’ do anything w/no regard for truth, ethics, morals or empathy of any kind, who says what’s real is fake n’ what’s fake is real… Who will stop at nothing 4 power feeding off the anger n’ resentment he sows 24/7 while constantly whining how whatever doesn’t go his way is unfair… Most of us in America have never experienced anything this obscene at this level in r lifetimes n’ if we as a country don’t wake up n’ put an end 2 this nonsense now it’s something we definitely will all pay hard 4 as time goes on.”
So, one thing Rose definitely hasn’t “done for the country lately”: shut up and sing.