Axl Rose explains why he feels so much ‘disdain’ for Trump administration

Axl Rose performs with Guns N' Roses at Coachella 2016
Axl Rose performs with Guns N’ Roses at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2016.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

It’s hardly news when a celebrity takes a shot on social media at the current administration. However, what might be is when one explains what drives him to do so.

Axl Rose did just that after he engaged with Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Twitter over the holiday weekend, after first calling the Cabinet member a couple of rude names and telling him to resign.

Key takeways from his explanation? The Guns N’ Roses leader is not following any political playbook. It’s OK if you disagree with him, and it’s OK for him to respond to a member of the administration without putting that person 100% on blast. And it’s all about the issues, not about the rocker.

“My disdain 4 r current administration n’ what I perceive as it’s threat to r democracy is no secret,” Rose tweeted Saturday night, saying that while he appreciates those who pay attention to what he says, he isn’t speaking out to gain followers or retweets.

His political and social-issues posts, Rose wrote, “rn’t about me. They’re about the issues.”


So when Rose is trashing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, retweeting criticism of Vice President Mike Pence or calling out President Trump with a defense of the “Lamestream media,” you can trust that that’s not about him. And when he rips Adams, calling him a “coward” and worse, that’s still not about him. Even if Adams, like Mnuchin, decides to respond.

“In general my posts in regard to current events, politics or social issues r usually coming from a sense of outrage, obligation n’ responsibility to say something at times when I feel not to is being complicit (as opposed to a desire for attention or self promotion.),” Rose continued, via the TwitLonger platform.

“I’m nobody, just a citizen that like everyone else has my own opinions n’ believes in my heart that ultimately I want what’s best for not just r country but for humanity, wildlife n’ r environment n’ other’s as opposed to right, left or any other wing fascism r at least in this country free to disagree.”

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose criticized Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s coronavirus response, which irked the Treasury secretary and started a Twitter spat.

“So 4 me when I feel someone in this administration for example or perhaps media, in entertainment or the public says or does something that in my view supports or caters to the irresponsibility of this administration or various issues w/government or law enforcement I may voice an opinion,” he wrote. “Perhaps a strong or perhaps considered by some a lewd or immature response or opinion.

“It happens.”

Rose and Adams had interacted on Friday after the rocker lashed out at the surgeon general, calling Adams names and saying, “Resign. U don’t deserve the job or title. America deserves better.”

“Hey Axl - appreciate your passion (and your music),” Adams replied politely, attaching a July 2 Independence Day PSA of himself in which he begged people to wear masks if they couldn’t social distance. “How about helping me save some lives by sharing the message about staying safe, and using face coverings?!”

Rose replied: “Awesome! n’ thanks! U wanna start by telling peeps to avoid large gatherings? Or u want me to? Shame we didn’t get that out there 4 this wkend like on TV.”

Rose’s reply garnered replies of its own, ranging from “Go, Axl” to “Never buying tickets to another show.”

Adams continued the exchange on Sunday, though Rose didn’t answer.

“Axl- I mentioned CDC guidelines, which state large gatherings as high risk. Here’s the rub- racial justice protests (many of which happened this weekend) are important, but are ‘large gatherings.’ As Zeke Emmanuel has said, its about knowing risk,” the surgeon general wrote, including a tweet from Emmanuel, who ran the National Institutes of Health for the Obama White House.

“Bottom line, I’ve always told people large gatherings are higher risk- but people may choose to go out anyway, and COVID doesn’t care why you choose to do so. So my focus is on helping people understand how to determine their risk, so they can make an informed decision.”

Adams concluded by inviting Rose to reach out to his office about CDC guidelines.

“Happy to chat with you, as I’m always interested in working with people to help promote health and safety practices,” Adams tweeted, “even people who call me names!”