The 1969 track was released at the height of the Vietnam war and offers a scathing take on military deferments and the safe positions that were offered to well-connected individuals at a time when millions of Americans were being drafted to the front line.
Singer John Fogerty previously said of the track: “The song speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself. It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.”
But there is a certain irony in Trump playing the track as he arrived on Thursday evening (September 10), given his dubious association with the conflict.
Trump was originally deemed medically fit for military service in July 1968, after the last of four consecutive student deferments came to an end.
But only two months later, he received a medical deferment for unspecified reasons. It which was made permanent some 4 years later – with Trump claiming to have been diagnosed with bone spurs.
However, the diagnosis has been repeatedly questioned over the years – with Trump failing to provide concrete proof and repeatedly forgetting on which foot he experienced the condition.
“Fortunate Son” plays as Trump de-planes, an entry for the “nobody listened to the lyrics” hall of fame. pic.twitter.com/fJBPI7CxGQ
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 10, 2020
Sharing footage of the President’s arrival in Freeland, Michigan, journalist Dave Weigel wrote: “Fortunate Son plays as Trump de-planes, an entry for the “nobody listened to the lyrics” hall of fame.”
Weigel’s tweet quickly went viral, and last night Creedence’s former frontman issued a response in a Facebook video called “Meaning behind Fortunate Son.”
“Recently, the President has been using my song ‘Fortunate Son’ for his campaign rallies,” he began, “which I find confounding, to say the least.” He went on to explain the song’s intended message about how war only comes for poor people.
“The very first lines of ‘Fortunate Son’ are, ‘Some folks are born made to wave the flag, ooh their red, white and blue,” he said. “But when the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief,’ they point the cannon at you.’ Well that’s exactly what happened recently in Lafayette Park. When the President decided to take a walk across the park, he cleared out the area using Federal troops so that he could stand in front of St. John’s church with a Bible.”
The meaning behind the song “Fortunate Son,” in John’s own words. You can watch the video of John jamming to a new version with his family band ‘Fogerty’s Factory’ in this link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l0KIxkU3PB8
Posted by John Fogerty on Friday, September 11, 2020
He added: “It’s a song I could’ve written now. So I find it confusing, I would say, that that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact it seems like he is probably the fortunate son.”
A number of people have taken to Twitter to mock the president’s use of the song.
“I mean, the absolute irony of playing CCR’s ‘Fortunate Son’ for a rich privileged white guy who got out of the VIETNAM WAR by faking a medical condition with his daddy’s money… I got nothing, man,” one Twitter user wrote.
I mean, the absolute irony of playing CCR's "Fortunate Son" for a rich privileged white guy who got out of the VIETNAM WAR by faking a medical condition with his daddy's money…
I got nothing, man.
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) September 10, 2020
Another suggested that the person in charge of soundtracking the rally may have been trolling the president.
“John Fogerty wrote ‘Fortunate Son’ about rich kids getting deferments from serving in Vietnam. Whoever picked this music is trolling Trump – he is just too dumb to know it,” they wrote.
John Fogerty wrote “ Fortunate Son” about rich kids getting deferments from serving in Vietnam. Whoever picked this music is trolling Trump – he is just too dumb to know it. https://t.co/a2SQVjunNJ
— SweetLemon🍀🍋🌳🐚🐋🌼🏊🏻♀️🧺📒✏️📙 (@VicarsMaryann) September 11, 2020
The unfortunate choice comes a week after Trump was accused of disrespecting the US military.
According to reports from The Atlantic, he described America’s war dead as “losers” and “suckers”.
Earlier in the week, he was also called out by Snoop Dogg for “disrespecting every colour in the world”.