Trump's tone-deaf tribute to Aretha Franklin sparks outrage

Eliza Velk
Junior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Social media has been flooded with heartwarming tributes in memory of the ultimate Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who passed away on Thursday at age 76 following her battle with pancreatic cancer.

Among the tributes paid was one by US President Donald Trump, who not only tweeted his condolences, but also praised the singer ahead of a cabinet meeting and used a phrase that hasn’t gone down too well. 

Tributes have been flowing for music legend and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin who passed away aged 76 on Thursday. Source: Getty

“I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions,” Trump said to the press Thursday.

“She was terrific — Aretha Franklin — on her passing. She brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God — her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.”

For the most part, it was a nice gesture, however there was one line that many people just couldn’t overlook, and that was when Trump said, “she worked for me on numerous occasions”.

In his tribute to Aretha Franklin, Donald Trump suggests she ‘worked’ for him which happened to outrage many fans. Source: Getty

While he may have been referencing the few times Aretha performed at his casinos or during the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in 1997, the detail of this ‘work’ was left rather unclear. 

Many fans were left stumped by the statement and did not appreciate the fact that he even mentioned such a thing during this time of mourning.





After Trump’s somewhat tone-deaf tribute, people were appreciating the heartwarming messages made by both Hilary and Bill Clinton, and by former president Barack Obama, who held a close friendship with Aretha.


“America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring,” Obama wrote on behalf of himself and his wife on Instagram.

“Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine,” he concluded.




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