Billy Joel doesn't usually discuss politics. In the past, he's pointed to the fact that people don't want to hear a wealthy entertainer sounding off about the economy, and so he's mostly continued with his Madison Square Garden residency without delving into the putrid waters of contemporary political discourse. But Donald Trump has made that sort of surface neutrality a challenge. Last year, after Trump favorably compared Nazis to people who actively dislike Nazis, Joel wore a Star of David on stage at MSG; in an interview with Vulture's David Marchese, published this morning, Joel explained that decision:
Wearing the Star of David wasn’t about politics. To me, what happened in Charlottesville was like war. When Trump said there were good people on both sides—there are no good Nazis. There are no good Ku Klux Klan people. Don’t equivocate that shit. I think about my old man: Most of his family was murdered in Auschwitz. He was able to get out but then got drafted and went in the U.S. Army. He risked his life in Europe to defeat Nazism. A lot of men from his generation did the same thing. So when those guys see punks walking around with swastikas, how do they keep from taking a baseball bat and bashing those crypto-Nazis over the head? Those creeps are going to march through the streets of my country? Uh-uh. I was personally offended. That’s why I wore that yellow star. I had to do something, and I didn’t think speaking about it was going to be as impactful.
He goes on to blame the "terrible" state of America squarely on Trump, and he's openly furious about the government's decision to separate families at the US-Mexico border: "These children are being ripped away from their parents and then the U.S. can’t find them? This is insane. This is the antithesis of America."
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