The song “We are the Champions” started booming from the loudspeakers at the Republican National Convention. A blinding white light filled the stage, and Trump walked out to a podium and teleprompters that rose from the ground to meet him.
It was a dramatic moment. And also, apparently, an unauthorized one.
Trump used the music, by British rock band Queen, to introduce him before he introduced his wife, Melania Trump, on Monday night at the RNC. But Queen says the use was unauthorized and “against our wishes.”
Some pointed out the music was ironic, given the Republican presidential candidate’s slogan of “Make America Great Again,” considering the band is British. Freddie Mercury, the lead singer and writer of that particular song, was also known as a gay man and died of HIV complications. The Republican platform is still against same-sex marriage.
It’s unclear if the unauthorized use will have legal ramifications. Mike Huckabee, a failed Republican presidential candidate in 2016, had to pay $25,000 to a music company for using Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” without permission. He played it at a campaign rally alongside Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples last year despite court rulings.
Campaigns can buy blanket rights for millions of songs to use at campaign rallies, but it’s unclear if “We are the Champions” is included in those packages.