Last Thursday, T.I. publicly denounced Kanye West’s meeting with Trump at the White House, but the next day he made his disgust for their relationship even more clear with a video that itself is drawing outrage. The 1-minute video, which teases T.I.’s new album, features a Melania Trump look-alike stripping for rapper in a makeshift Oval Office.
T.I. tweeted the promo with a caption for the president: “Dear 45, I ain’t Kanye.”
In response, Melania spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham tweeted, “How is this acceptable?” She suggested a boycott of T.I. and his music, and the call began to circulate through conservative media this week.
The video opens with a newscaster’s voice intoning, “Melania Trump did not go with the president to Mar-a-Lago this weekend, which has a lot of people wondering … ” and then cuts to T.I. watching from the Oval Office as Trump’s helicopter disappears. The Melania look-alike enters wearing the infamous “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket, which she recently told an interviewer she donned to mock the press. She then strips and defaces a portrait of her husband.*
Although it’s unclear how many T.I. fans out there are prepared to answer the boycott, the video is undeniably crass, using the first lady’s body as a means to antagonize the president. Even as the president criticized Ted Cruz’s wife’s appearance as a campaign tactic not long ago, even as Melania herself has done precious little to counter his vicious attacks on women and others, there are perhaps better ways to taunt the president.
Correction, Oct. 16, 2018: This post originally misstated that Melania’s jacket had said, “I Don’t Really Care, Do U?”