The NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee), a GOP Senate organization headed by Senators Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis, issued a press release on Monday condemning musicians Ben Folds and country crooner Jason Isbell as members of an unruly mob they deemed “the unhinged left” for daring to play a rally on behalf of Democrat Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen in Nashville on Monday night. Bredesen faces off against former Trump transition team member and ultra conservative, Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
What makes Folds and Isbell so unhinged? Well, Folds supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and Isbell criticized Trump supporters in a 2017 Rolling Stone interview. By those standards, the two polite dad rockers are hardly the Murder Junkies.
“I could see how a lot of conservative right-wing Christian Americans would vote for someone like Mitt Romney, who seems like a stand-up guy. But Trump is obviously not a good Christian person,” Isbell told Rolling Stone last year. “I think the fact that so many people voted for him means that there aren’t that many good Christian people left in rural America. God is gone from those people.”
Monday morning, NRSC spokesman Michael McAdams sent out a statement titled “Phony Phil partners with the unhinged left,” slamming Bredesen and his supporters at the scheduled rally.
“Despite Bredesen’s moderate act, he continues to embrace people who have made it a habit of insulting the Tennessee voters who proudly supported President Trump,” McAdams wrote in the statement. “Today’s fundraiser is the latest example that Phil Bredesen is completely out-of-touch with a majority of Tennesseans.”
If his Twitter feed is any indication, Isbell seems tickled to be portrayed as a threat to decency.
Isbell also proudly shared a link from a Tennessean reporting on the GOP’s attempt to weaponize the former Driveby Trucker’s reasonable, measured assessment of current events.
“I’ve been in the paper a few times now, but this one is my favorite,” Isbell wrote. “This is one I’ll be proud to show my grandkids.”
We reached out to Folds’s rep for comment and will update if and when we hear back. Bredesen’s campaign pushed back on the notion that Isbell and Folds are unruly hooligans.
“Jason Isbell is a champion for working men and women. Ben Folds is a leading advocate for arts education and he even played at the Republican National Convention,” Laura Zapata, Bredesen’s communications director, said in a statement issued to the Tennessean. “The swamp needs to spend less time worrying about these popular recording artists and more time looking into Marsha Blackburn’s ties to hate groups and Russian nationals, and her illegal coordination with dark-money groups in Washington.”