Los Angeles - Taylor Swift's decision to break her silence on politics triggered a storm on Monday, with even U.S. President Donald Trump weighing in on the pop music star's remarks in support of Democrats.
Swift, 28, has notably stayed out of the U.S. political fray in contrast to her more vocal peers, like Democratic supporters Katy Perry and Beyonce and Republican backer Kid Rock.
But Swift on Sunday told her 112 million Instagram followers that she would vote for two Democrats running in Tennessee in the U.S. congressional midterm elections on 6 November.
"In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now," Swift wrote.
Asked about Swift's comments, Trump on Monday told reporters; "Let's say that I like Taylor's music about 25 percent less now, OK?"
Before he was elected in 2016, Trump had spoken warmly of Swift. On separate occasions on Twitter in 2012 he called her "fantastic" and "terrific."
@taylorswift13 Thanks for the beautiful picture--- you are fantastic!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2012
The "Speak Now" singer said in her Instagram post she was a supporter of gay rights and women's rights, and against racism.
"I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love," Swift wrote, saying she would vote for Democrats Phil Bredesen for the U.S. Senate and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
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Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor, is facing Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn in what has become an extremely close race for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Bob Corker.
Swift said that while she typically tries to support women running for office, Blackburn's voting record "appalls and terrifies me."
Swift's comments got two million likes on her Instagram page. But they enraged many conservatives, especially those in the country music community where Swift got her start as a teenager and went on to win 10 Grammys.
"What I used to love about Taylor Swift is she stayed away from politics," Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative non-profit student organization Turning Point, said on Fox News television on Monday.
Some sought to play down Swift's influence outside her predominantly young girl fan base.
"So @taylorswift13 has every right to be political but it won’t impact election unless we allow 13 yr old girls to vote," tweeted former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who twice sought the Republican presidential nomination.
Former "Star Trek" actor George Takei was among those welcoming Swift's declaration ahead of what are expected to be polarizing elections in November.
"Guys, things have gotten so dire that even Taylor Swift had to say something," Takei tweeted.
Model Chrissy Teigen, actress Blake Lively and singer Perry were among those adding "likes" to Swift's Instagram post.
"Respectfully, be quiet and sing!" wrote a Twitter user named Janice @theemporersnew. "I guess you’re more pop than country now anyway. You’re country fans are gonna be disappointed."
Meanwhile, 28-year-old pop singer won a record fourth artist of the year trophy at the fan-voted American Music Awards on Tuesday, beating rappers Drake and Post Malone, as well as Britain's Ed Sheeran and rock band Imagine Dragons for the top prize.Reuters