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White House responds after Taylor Swift calls out Trump administration in VMAs speech

White House says the Equality Act is filled with 'poison pills' 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Wednesday 28 August 2019 16:13 BST
Kellyanne Conway accidentally criticises Trump by singing Taylor Swift lyrics

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The White House has responded to Taylor Swift after the pop star called out the Trump administration during her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards.

While accepting the award for Video of the Year on Monday, Swift discussed the Equality Act, which would provide protection from discrimination for LGBT individuals.

Despite receiving half a million signatures - five times the amount needed to warrant a response from the White House - the Trump administration had not yet responded to the petition, according to Swift.

However, in a statement following her speech, White House spokesperson Judd Deere condemned the bill in its “current form”.

“The Trump Administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, the House-passed bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” Deere told USA Today.

White House advisor Kellyanne Conway also dismissed Swift’s call to action on Tuesday and reiterated that the Equality Act is full of “poison pills”, telling Fox News that although she likes the singer’s song You Need To Calm Down, the White House doesn’t “support pieces of legislation that have poison pills in it that could harm other people”.

Conway, who partially sang the song on-air, also advised Swift against involving herself in politics and suggested that the singer’s fans may not be aware what she is advocating for.

“I would love to ask her audience if they even know what that is, [what] the Equality Act is and isn’t,” she said, before adding that Swift has “went up against” President Trump before and lost.

Referencing Swift’s previous endorsement of Democratic Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, Conway said: “She’s also somebody who went up against President Trump head-to-head in the United States Senate race in Tennessee and lost handily”.

The Equality Act passed the House in May, but it has not been brought to a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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During her acceptance speech, Swift told viewers: “Regardless of who we are, regardless of how we identify, at the end of this video there was a petition - and there still is a petition for the Equality Act, which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law.”

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