Former Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus on Sunday suggested Republicans were pursuing an unwise strategy by attacking superstar Taylor Swift and circulating conspiracy theories about her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
“I think it’s a powder keg of stupidity,” Priebus said in a panel discussion on ABC News’s “This Week” when asked about conservative media’s new fixation on the possibility of Swift helping President Biden’s reelection campaign.
Priebus said the attacks will only turn away prospective GOP voters.
“You’re talking about two of the most popular things in America right now. Taylor Swift and the NFL. And we’ve got a party that wants to, you know, grow the tent. I don’t think attacking those two — Taylor Swift and the NFL — is obviously the way to go. I think we ought to have a few things in America that we can agree on. And those are two things,” Priebus added.
Priebus’s remarks come on the heels of a New York Times report that the Biden campaign is actively hoping to earn Swift’s endorsement to sway young voters who are not otherwise very engaged in politics.
That report set off a week of conspiracy theories circulating on social media and on politically conservative circuits that Swift was working to help elect Biden. Rolling Stone reported last week that former President Trump’s allies are pledging a “holy war” targeting Swift, especially if she endorses Biden ahead of November.
Priebus doubted, however, that a Swift endorsement would be very consequential ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
“Even if she does take a political position — she doesn’t like Trump, fine — that’s not going to change, I don’t think, anyone’s votes in November,” Priebus said. “But what could change people’s votes is if, you know, you started coming up with these kinds of conspiracy theories.”
Vivek Ramaswamy, a former presidential candidate who has thrown his support behind Trump, is perhaps the most high-profile Republican to go after the singer so far, stoking theories that the NFL is rigging football games for Swift’s Kansas City beau as Democrats look for her endorsement.
But Priebus, who served as Trump’s first White House chief of staff, maintained that much of the Swift backlash was not coming from GOP voters but instead “people on the internet.”