lana del rey trump tweet

Lana Del Rey/YouTube

Lana Del Rey says comments about Trump, Capitol riot were taken ‘out of context’ after backlash

Her 'Chemtrails Over the Country Club' album comes out March 19, but she's talking about more than music this week.


Phil West

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 12, 2021   Updated on Jan 12, 2021, 6:52 pm CST

It’s been quite the online week for Lana Del Rey, and it’s only Tuesday. After setting off a controversy via Instagram on Sunday, where she boasted about being “extremely inclusive” (which included dating rappers), she was on Twitter on Tuesday to defend comments she made in a BBC Radio 1 interview.

The interview coincided with Del Rey’s Monday unveiling of the video for “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” the title track for her new album due out March 19.

The interview included some eyebrow-raising comments about her feelings on the Trump presidency, which have since made the rounds in a number of music publications. Del Rey, however, singled out Complex for its treatment of the comments—with a preemptive strike at Rolling Stone thrown in for good measure.

She first addressed the interview in general, noting, “Just to take a moment to say that what I was describing with the BBC was that Trump is so significantly impaired that he may not know what he was doing due to his significant lack of empathy and the wider ranging problem is the issue of sociopathy and narcissism in America.”

She then addressed the interview’s treatment via print and online media more generally, tweeting, “I’ll say it again I don’t appreciate the larger magazines taking my well-intentioned and believe it or not liberal comments out of context. It’s actually what I sing about quite often. It’s what I’ve been condemned for saying. You can listen to the entire interview.”

She then singled out Complex, saying, “I also want to say that I don’t appreciate Complex magazine inferring that I thought it was right to storm the capital,” she noted, referring to last Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riot in the nation’s capital. “After my long term relationship with them and exclusive interviews over the last 11 years, I think it’s pathetic,” before adding, “If Rolling Stone chimes in—same goes for them.”

Complex characterized her comments this way:

Del Rey believes Trump is a symptom of a larger sickness in the United States: an epidemic of myopia, selfishness and rage. As the avatar of all that, she doesn’t think the president can see far enough beyond himself to know that his speeches might have consequences.

It then included the quote that’s been circulating:

“The madness of Trump… As bad as it was, it really needed to happen. We really needed a reflection of our world’s greatest problem, which is not climate change but sociopathy and narcissism. Especially in America. It’s going to kill the world. It’s not capitalism, it’s narcissism.”

But then, Complex noted:

She continued, saying that Trump didn’t know he was inciting a riot and arguing the rioters were responding to an ongoing “disassociated rage” in the country more than any speech.

“They want to wile out somewhere. And it’s like, we don’t know how to find a way to be wild in our world. And at the same time, the world is so wild,” she said of Trump supporters, before noting that the riot was a clear, frightening update on the mental health of the nation.

“They want to wile out somewhere. And it’s like, we don’t know how to find a way to be wild in our world. And at the same time, the world is so wild,” she said of Trump supporters, before noting that the riot was a clear, frightening update on the mental health of the nation.

“We didn’t know that we got half of the country who wants to shoot up the Capitol” Del Rey said. “We didn’t really know that because we never got to see it. I think this gave us the opportunity to see where our level of mental health is at.”

Stereogum and NME, by contrast, included some additional quotes which might have provided context more pleasing to Del Rey—yet given the sensitivity around the riot, they might not mitigate her headline-grabbing assertions.

Stereogum quoted her as saying, following where Complex left off, “Again, I think people are having to re-evaluate what is strange and not strange. Watching the people storm the Capitol, everyone gets to go look at that and figure out what Capitols they’ve been storming this year in their own freakin’ lives. ‘Cause everyone’s running amok. You know, half the people I know are just jerks. Like I could picture them being like, ‘Well, we need a change.’ You know, and then other half of the people I know are like watching them with tears in their eyes, in disbelief. And it is sad, it is scary. But it could happen in any country.”

NME added the quote, “I was surprised we didn’t have a live-television psychopath crazy person as a president a long time ago because that’s what we see on TV and that’s what we see on Instagram. A lot of really self-obsessed influencers… Not to say that there’s not some also really cute, great, happy-go-lucky influencers that have taught me about crockpots and Target hauls and all the things that have really cheered up my life.”

Her Tuesday tweets led at least one person to effectively say, “Hey, let’s go back to those Sunday IG comments,” by noting, “The ‘rappers’ part is kinda tone deaf” with a screenshot of those comments.

Reactions on Twitter ranged from LDR stans giving support to some (even fans among them) saying she should be clearer about what she means to say.

At least one fan, seeing “out of context” in the tweet, took the occasion to slightly tweak the opening lines to her “Mariners Apartment Complex.”

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*First Published: Jan 12, 2021, 6:51 pm CST