The former R.E.M. singer, who is working on his debut solo album, labelled the US President a “bloviating puff adder sack of lies”, whom he claimed only secured presidential victory due to a successful reality TV career following the collapse of his property business.
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Stipe was speaking to Late Night With Seth Meyers yesterday (September 16) when he made the comments while talking about his voting initiative, the online installation PlanYourVote.org, which encourages US citizens to join the ballot in November’s presidential election.
Elsewhere in the interview Stipe revealed that he is composing music for the very first time. “I found it weirdly satisfying. I can’t say that it sounds very much like R.E.M., but I’m really happy with where it’s gone,” he said.
“And because of R.E.M. and because of all the fans across the years, I’m able to take all the money I’ve made for the first year of the release of every single that I’m putting out as a solo artist, and donate it or dedicate it to organisations and movements that I feel very strongly about.”
Meanwhile, in an op-ed published by The Guardian today (September 17) the singer called for an upending of the coronavirus crisis management in Athens, Georgia, where he formed R.E.M. in the early ’80s.
He cited “dramatic” statistics in Athens-Clarke county, which houses the University of Georgia where thousands of students have flocked to for the start of the academic year. “The smallest county in a very large state,” he wrote, “now has the highest two-week total of new cases for any of Georgia’s 159 counties, and one of the highest per capita in the nation, and it has seen the number of deaths due to Covid-19 more than double in just the past six weeks. Other university communities in the state are facing the same dramatic uptick.”
“As has been widely noted, young people do not live in a bubble, and so they serve as a danger to their older and more vulnerable teachers, the custodians who clean their classrooms, kitchen workers who cook their meals – and that is just on campus. Their impact off campus, in the town of Athens, is alarming. In addition, the 14,000 primary and secondary schoolchildren in Athens will have to stay away from their needed academic and social supports because of the reckless environment that our state has enabled for the university community.
Stipe also pressed for Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, “a Donald Trump acolyte” who “was slow to order safety measures and quick to lift them” and other leaders to implement a new strategy.
Among a bulleted list of proposals, he called for eating and drinking in establishments to only take place outdoors, and for gatherings of 50 people to be vastly reduced to mirror the restrictions currently in place in the UK.