Putin gets Taylor Swift treatment from America's Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has invoked a Taylor Swift hit to send a message to Russian President President Vladimir Putin that Moscow-Washington ties, devastated by the situation in Ukraine, are not about to improve.
Giving a commencement address at Georgetown University on Saturday, Blinken started by comparing himself to the 11-time Grammy winner Swift, who previously appeared in the same role at New York University.
“I want to start by kicking the elephant out of the room. Yes, NYU got Taylor Swift as their commencement speaker,” said the secretary of state, who’s a guitar enthusiast.
“Now, my staff didn't let me bring my guitar up here to dedicate a performance of ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' to President Putin,” he added to laughter and applause.
The diplomat said his staff had warned him that a full rendition would be “undiplomatic” and “cringe.”
Delivering a commencement address for Georgetown University, Sec. Blinken jokes about NYU getting Taylor Swift: "My staff did not let me bring my guitar up here to dedicate a performance of 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,' to President Putin." https://t.co/1yNOqWkEVApic.twitter.com/LTbsieuMcl— ABC News (@ABC) May 21, 2022
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together is a 2012 hit from Swift's fourth album, which has over 694 million views on YouTube.
Blinken's quip came on the same day that US President Joe Biden signed a $40 billion military and economic aid package for Ukraine, and after reports emerged that the US was planning to keep its military contingent in Europe at 100,000 in the foreseeable future, citing the alleged threat from Russia.
Also on Saturday, Moscow issued a list of 963 American citizens permanently banned from entering Russia, which included both Biden and Blinken.