Musician Ariel Pink defends attending Trump rally but says he wasn’t part of mob

Ariel Pink
Ariel Pink says he did not join the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Indie musician Ariel Pink was tweeting overnight about attending Wednesday’s Trump rally in Washington, D.C., that resulted in an assault on the U.S. Capitol.

“i was in dc to peacefully show my support for the president. i attended the rally on the white house lawn and went back to hotel and took a nap. case closed,” he tweeted Thursday, responding to a Twitter user who called him out over a picture that showed him at a hotel in the district.

The photo featured Pink, fellow indie musician and longtime friend John Maus and documentary filmmaker Alex Lee Moyer, on whose Instagram the selfie of the three was posted. Moyer’s Instagram account has since been made private. The picture shows the three in a hotel room and was captioned, “the day we almost died but instead had a great time.”


Pink, born Ariel Marcus Rosenberg in Los Angeles, verified the photo was real, tweeting, “its true- i dont and never have advocated for violent confrontation or rioting. must be my boomer upbringing.” He also dismissed criticism about attending a rally during the pandemic as well as the idea that the photo was proof that he stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“all the people at these events deserve whats coming to them. they took the risk knowing full well what might happen. BLM protests over the past 6 months are not informed about the pandemic?,” he wrote in a couple of tweet replies. “proof that i stormed congress. yeah i dont see it. are u suggesting the congress building has a bed and breakfast we somehow got access to.”

Ariel Pink is firmly in control of Haunted Graffiti

June 6, 2010

The 42-year-old predicted the social media mob would be coming for him and urged friends to “cancel” him before they got caught up in the drama.

“welcome to the panoptigan,” he tweeted, possibly meaning panopticon, which is a circular prison where all inmates can be observed from the center. “they wasted no yourselves friends, cancel me now and turn me in before they come for you.”


The musician has been on the record as a supporter of the president, tweeting in October, “trump and his team are THE geniuses of our time.” He has also been sharing thoughts on election fraud in recent days, while making it clear he accepts that President-elect Joe Biden won the election.

“i dont refuse that biden won-He won-no argument there. Problem is--biden WON- which means its Game Over- dems are under a delusion that US will improve, rather than implode-if georgia goes blue- USA wont make it summer,” he tweeted Sunday, days before Democratic candidates won both Georgia Senate seats.

The Beverly Hills-raised Pink’s turn toward conservative politics has come after a career that began as a music-obsessed teen releasing lo-fidelity pop music. He attended CalArts, where he met and collaborated with a handful of kindred musicians including Maus, experimental composer Julia Holter and post-disco synthesist Nite Jewel.

Pink’s influential production sound inspired the chillwave genre, and he became a Pitchfork favorite across three albums for tastemaking indie label 4AD. Pink issues music through the New York imprint Mexican Summer.

Pink’s longtime collaborator Maus has earned an equally devoted following for his work as an academia-inspired synth-pop artist. One song that’s been receiving a lot of attention, “Cop Killer,” from his 2011 album, “We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves,” mixes dance-along rhythms with the lyric, “Cop killer / Let’s kill every cop in sight.”

Of that lyric, Maus told the Guardian that his intention was to convey “that any worthwhile political or artistic agenda should be seeking an undoing of the situation as it stands. Whether the status quo is a political state or a musical language, the idea should be to kill or overthrow that.” He added: “The song’s not about killing a human being, but about overcoming inhumanity; destroying the machinery that turns us toward an end other than ourselves.”

Maus has not commented on his presence in D.C.; instead he posted a link to an obscure Vatican text published in 1933.

Around the end of 2020 and beginning of this year, Pink took part in a lengthy Twitter discussion where he took the conservative side of the argument, defending Trump’s pandemic response, criticizing media coverage and alleging fraud in the election via mail-in voting.


“the reason the left/mainstream media has made it virtually a crime for people to support him is due to his unprecedented success as US president,” he said in a series of tweets Dec. 30. “we swap out presidents and parties every 4-8 years. any decision made by one president may be undone by the next. thats why progress is slow and uneven. this is why our government is relatively small and ineffective- who wants government to have so much say in their life ...”

The conversation continued over the course of days, with Pink tweeting Sunday, “how do i appear delusional? im not part of a lunatic fringe minority illuminati subsect of the republican party. id be willing to bet most people would agree this election was at least suspicious.”

Pink’s label did not respond Thursday to a request for further comment.

Times staff writer Randall Roberts contributed to this report.