President Trump’s sudden pivot to freeing rapper A$AP Rocky from Swedish detainment has neither won him many friends on the music scene, or turned heads from the ongoing fallout of his racist statements against Democratic congresswomen. Despite Trump’s self-publicized efforts to negotiate Rocky’s release with Swedish authorities, a reminder of his own controversial detainments arrived this weekend from an unexpected source: Justin Bieber.
Bieber had previously encouraged his followers to sign a Change.org petition advocating for Rocky’s release, but wasn’t about to let Trump off the hook for suddenly expressing interest in the case. “I want my friend out,” Bieber tweeted early Saturday morning. “I appreciate you trying to help him. But while your at it @realDonaldTrump can you also let those kids out of cages?”
After a week of racist remarks, chants against congresswoman Ilhan Omar and renewed scrutiny of conditions at migrant detention facilities along the border, Trump made a public spectacle of his attempts to secure A$AP Rocky’s release, following the rapper’s June arrest for a public altercation. In between name-dropping Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Trump tweeted repeatedly about negotiations with Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven.
“Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly,” Trump wrote Saturday. “Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative. Our teams will be talking further, and we agreed to speak again in the next 48 hours!”
His efforts to change the news cycle gained little traction. Late Friday, Trump’s continued attacks on “The Squad” congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib drew perhaps their most prominent critic yet: former first lady Michelle Obama.
“What truly makes our country great is its diversity,” Obama wrote, without mentioning Trump or the congresswomen by name. “I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.”
According to CNN, former president Barack Obama‘s office said he himself was “not planning to weigh in on Trump’s racist tweet or the ‘Send her back!’ chant” from Wednesday’s rally. Trump has not yet responded to either Bieber or Obama’s posts.