Taylor Swift is finally coming clean about her decision to stay silent and not support ― or condemn ― a political candidate in the 2016 election.
“Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” the 29-year-old told Vogue’s Abby Aguirre. “He was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew I wasn’t going to help.”
At the time, Swift had a bit of a sullied public reputation after Kim Kardashian called her a “snake.” She cited that insult when explaining to Vogue that she thought her presence would’ve only hurt Clinton ― not helped.
“The summer before that election, all people were saying was, ‘She’s calculated. She’s manipulative. She’s not what she seems. She’s a snake. She’s a liar,’” Swift told Vogue of the backlash she’d received.
“These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary,” Swift explained. “Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? ‘Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women.’”
Many celebrities rallied to Clinton’s side during the election. Katy Perry regularly performed and campaigned for Clinton on the campaign trail, as did countless others in the candidate’s “army” of Hollywood supporters, which included Beyoncé, LeBron James, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend — but not Swift, who faced further backlash for not picking a side in the election from celebrities and fans alike.
The Daily Beast wrote an article on “Taylor Swift’s Loud Election Silence—and Connection to Donald Trump” while fans speculated on Twitter about who the singer was voting for. Everyone was talking politics on the internet and in Hollywood ― everyone except Swift, that is.
“A notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star,” declared a 2017 editorial in The Guardian, highlighting the singer’s silence on Trump.
“Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base; their solipsism; their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the ‘alt-right,’” the piece added.
Swift had also stayed out of the limelight in past elections. In a 2008 interview for Lifetime’s “Every Woman Counts” special, she explained why she sidestepped any sort of major political statement.
“I’m not gonna sit here and go into my political views because that’s not what I chose to do,” Swift said at the time. “I chose to do music.”
When 2016 rolled around, Swift told Vogue, she did the only thing she felt she could do: disappear.
“Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear,” she said. “So I disappeared. In many senses.”
“When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc,” she added.
Head to Vogue to read more of Swift’s interview.