Last week, President Trump walked through a factory producing N95 protective masks in Phoenix, Arizona, without wearing a mask of his own. In a wrinkle much too on-the-nose for comfort, the plant’s PA system blared Guns N’ Roses cover of “Live and Let Die” over the scene, leaving some doubt as to whether the mask factory workers were staging a quiet protest or if Trump just turned to a familiar rally playlist. No matter the intention, you didn’t have to strain for symbolic connection here, with the federal pandemic response effectively amounting to the government throwing up its hands and hoping the virus goes away.
Now, nodding to that cursed factory tour, Guns N’ Roses is selling “Live and Let Die with COVID-45” t-shirts on their website. The shirts go for $25, with all proceeds benefiting MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s relief fund for musicians impacted by the virus. It’s an uncut Facebook boomer gotcha, for a good cause.
Axl Rose has been on one as of late, beefing on Twitter with Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. Last week, Rose tweeted: “It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an asshole.” Mnuchin, who claims few contributions to society beyond executive producing Inherent Vice and Mad Max: Fury Road, responded directly, asking Rose what he’s done for the country lately. This was inexplicably followed by an emoji of the Liberian flag.
The long controversial Guns N’ Roses frontman — who for lack of a better term, would be perpetually canceled if his heyday occurred right now — has been getting more outspoken throughout Trump’s term. Ahead of the midterm elections in 2018, Rose tweeted that the president has “no regard for truth, ethics, morals or empathy of any kind,” and clarified that the Trump campaign only is allowed to play GNR songs at rallies through arcane venue loopholes. The latest escalation isn't much spicier and has cringe to spare, but at the very least should raise some money to help artists currently out of work.