Green Day criticizes Trump with revised lyrics to a classic song

The members of Green Day have made it clear that they believe there is more than one American idiot.

While performing during ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2024” on Sunday in Hollywood, the alt-rock band went a little off script when performing their 2004 single “American Idiot.”

Originally written as a critique of the political actions of former President George W. Bush’s administration, “American Idiot” also protested what Green Day saw as the coordinated mass hysteria created by the American media after 9/11. However, in the recent live performance, the band directed their political ire from Bush to former President Donald Trump to changing the lyrics of the song from “I’m not part of a southern agenda” to “I’m not part of a MAGA agenda,” a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

As with most things Trump-related, online opinions about Green Day’s lyrical fit sparked mixed reactions. One notable critic of the dig was X owner Elon Musk, who characterized the change as weak.

“Green Day goes from raging against the machine to timidly raging about it,” Musk wrote in a x publication Monday.

Green Day has long been an advocate of speaking out against Trump and his policies. At the 2016 American Music Awards, the group’s lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, sang “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” during a performance of the song “Bang Bang.” In 2019, Green Day made the same “MAGA Agenda” lyric change that he did over the weekend while performing “American Idiot” at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.

Armstrong has repeatedly made clear his dislike of Trump.

“I mean, I’m not inspired by the President of the United States, because he just…there’s nothing,” he told Kerrang! in 2019. “Trump gives me diarrhea, you know? “I don’t want to write a song about that.”

In 2020, Armstrong compared Trump to one of the most reviled political figures of all time.

“I think that [Trump is] the most divisive leader of a country since Adolf Hitler,” he said in a Kerrang! 2020. interview. “It sounds melodramatic to say it, but living in America it’s just true.”

After Trump was impeached in 2023 for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Green Day announced that it would sell t-shirts featuring Trump’s infamous mugshot that had the word “nimrod” superimposed over his face for charity.

“Good Riddance,” the band wrote in an Instagram post in August. “The Ultimate Nimrod T-shirt is only available for 72 hours. Proceeds from the limited edition t-shirt will be donated to T̶h̶e̶ ̶G̶i̶u̶l̶i̶a̶n̶i̶ ̶L̶e̶g̶a̶l̶ ̶D̶e̶f̶e̶n̶s̶e̶ ̶F̶u̶n̶d̶ @greatergoodmusiccharity, bringing food to those affected by the wildfire from Maui. yes.”

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