Updated May 7, 2020 - 9:58 am
Steven Mnuchin probably doesn’t have “Appetite for Destruction” dialed up today.
The U.S. treasury secretary butted heads with Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose on Wednesday on Twitter. The exchange in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was totally out of the blue, with Rose posting, “It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an a**hole.”
Mnuchin responded, “What have you done for the country lately?”
Followers with a sharp eye for international flags noticed Mnuchin’s original retweet was tagged with an emoji of the flag of Liberia. It’s similar to the U.S. flag, especially as a tiny emoji, with just a single star in its blue field.
Mnuchin deleted that original tweet, later returning the message with the proper American flag, but not before Rose noticed Mnuchin’s flag mix-up (several observers had taken screen-grabs of the mistake).
Rose fired back, “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 them 2 travel the US during a pandemic.”
Rose seemed to be referring to Mnuchin’s comments Monday on Fox Business Network. Host Maria Bartiromo asked Mnuchin if he thought international travel might resume this year. Mnuchin said it’s “too hard to tell” and said Americans should consider traveling more domestically.
“This is a great time for people to explore America,” Mnuchin said. “A lot of people haven’t seen many parts of America. I wish I could get back on the road soon.”
For Las Vegas context, Rose has headlined in Las Vegas frequently over the past several years with two versions of Guns N’ Roses.
The refurbished band, without guitar icon and co-founding member Slash, headlined residencies in October and November 2012 and April and May 2014 at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Slash and bassist Duff McKagan reunited for the “Not in This Lifetime” tour in 2016, which played two sold-out shows at T-Mobile Arena in April 2016 and another in November 2017.
Most recently, that lineup played Nov. 1-2 at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. In a much-reported misstep, Rose tumbled to the stage in the first performance during “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.