It’s real, it’s bizarre, and it’s spurred considerable controversy and sparked a multitude of additional social media arguments: Guns N’ Roses lead vocalist Axl Rose has engaged in a war of words with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Twitter.
The seemingly unlikely showdown began yesterday evening, when Axl Rose tweeted: “It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an asshole.”
Secretary Mnuchin responded about two hours later, writing: “What have you done for the country lately?” The current message closes with an American flag emoji, but it seems that Mnuchin inadvertently chose the Liberian flag in a previous post, before deleting and replacing the tweet with one that features the U.S. flag.
Axl Rose alluded to the flag-emoji mix-up in his reply, which was published some five hours later: “My bad I didn’t get we’re hoping 2 emulate Liberia’s economic model but on the real unlike this admin I’m not responsible for 70k+ deaths n’ unlike u I don’t hold a fed gov position of responsibility 2 the American people n’ go on TV tellin [sic] them 2 travel the US during a pandemic.”
At the time of this writing, Secretary Mnuchin hadn’t fired back against this message.
However, a substantial number of Twitter users, on both sides of the issue, have picked up the slack; harshly-worded barbs and insults are abundant in the “replies” section of the Mnuchin-Rose battle.
While Axl Rose has taken to social media to criticize Republican lawmakers – and others, including Apple CEO Tim Cook – in the past, he appears to be a relatively infrequent Twitter user. He took a break from posting between November 2019 (after thanking fans for their well wishes following a minor on-stage fall) and February 2020. The latter marked his last personally penned message until April 10th.
And so, given that Rose has posted just 13 tweets since the start of 2019, it’s especially noteworthy that two of them have been directed towards Mnuchin, that Mnuchin returned fire, and that members of the public are so eager to join in the dispute.