Taylor Swift Says She Feared Publicly Endorsing Hillary Clinton In ’16, Not Wanting Backlash From Donald Trump

Taylor Swift appears on the red carpet.
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Taylor Swift was a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2016, but in a new interview, she revealed why she decided to stay on the sidelines during an election that drew plenty of celebrity endorsements.

In a new interview with Vogue, Swift said that she feared a public endorsement of Clinton could lead to backlash from Trump, who she said was “weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement” during the 2016 campaign. The pop singer was also concerned that adding another celebrity in Clinton’s corner would play right into Trump’s tactic as painting himself as a common man, apart from the political and celebrity power structure.

“He was going around saying, ‘I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you,'” Swift said of the billionaire star of The Apprentice. “I just knew. I knew I wasn’t going to help.”

There was another more personal factor at play for Swift. She told Vogue that the election cycle came right in the middle of her very public feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who led their fans to brand Swift a “snake” and a “liar.” Swift said she was afraid that this association may do more harm than good in her endorsement.

“These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability?” Swift mused. “Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women. Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses.”

Ironically, Kanye West would later become the most high-profile celebrity in Donald Trump’s corner, an endorsement that Trump was not shy about promoting. After his election, Trump invited Kanye to the White House for what would be a controversial appearance and the president frequently praises West on Twitter.

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Taylor Swift, who had long avoided becoming publicly involved in politics, did finally break her silence during the 2018 midterm elections when she endorsed Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen. The Democrat was locked in a tight race against Republican Marsha Blackburn for the open seat in Swift’s home state, and Taylor said that Bredesen would be a staunch advocate for human rights.

There was speculation among political experts that Swift’s endorsement could help turn out the younger demographics, who historically have voted at lesser rates than their older counterparts, NPR reported. Blackburn would ultimately win the race, however.