Music legend Woody Guthrie once bemoaned his landlord in an unfinished and unrecorded song he wrote called “Old Man Trump.”
If the name rings a bell, it’s because it so happened that Guthrie’s landlord was GOP candidate Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump. After the song was unearthed recently, it was recorded by riot folk singer Ryan Harvey with Ani DiFranco, and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
The artists are giving the song new life, saying it’s come full circle and now represents Donald Trump and what he stands for.
“When it comes to race relations, he’s like an old-school segregationist. When it comes to foreign policy, he’s like an old-school napalm-ist. When it comes to women’s issues, he’s like a frat-house rapist,” Morello says, introducing the song. “So let’s not elect that guy.”
Guthrie’s lyrics point out racism in the senior Trump’s housing practices, according to The Guardian. One line goes, “I suppose/Old Man Trump knows/Just how much/Racial Hate/he stirred up/In the bloodpot of human hearts/When he drawed/That color line/Here at his/1800 family project.”
Guthrie described the Beach Haven complex as a “Jim Crow town.” It was near Coney Island and housed almost exclusively white tenants. Trump built the project with federal loans and profited handsomely off it, Guthrie expert and professor at the University of Central Lancashire, Will Kaufman, told the Guardian.
Guthrie lived in the complex two years, but when he moved out in 1954, Trump’s father was under federal investigation for overstating the cost to build the public housing project and pocketing $3.7 million.
The song was written at a time when Guthrie was pondering race and segregation, according to the Guardian.
Listen to the song, as posted by Ryan Harvey to YouTube, here:
Morello’s introduction can be seen here, as posted to YouTube: