Axl Rose, the lead singer of U.S. rock band Guns N’ Roses, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have engaged in an escalating social-media exchange that’s gone viral.

With no context to explain the insult, the singer initiated the back-and-forth by using a vulgar epithet to describe Mnuchin in a post on his verified Twitter account. Mnuchin, who has played a key role in assembling the U.S. economic response to the coronavirus, then commented by asking what Rose had done to help the U.S. Rose tweeted:

“It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an a–hole.”

Mnuchin’s response from his verified Twitter account:

“What have you done for the country lately?”

Rose has recently tweeted about the importance of lockdowns to contain the coronavirus, and a subsequent retort to Mnuchin’s question suggested this might have been one of his issues with the Treasury chief.


In his second tweet, Rose indicated criticism of officials with public responsibility advocating travel. Earlier this week, President Trump said “we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”

Rose tweeted:

“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.”

Tensions between Rose and the administration pre-dated the exchange with Mnuchin. In 2018, the singer highlighted his band’s opposition to playing of Guns N’ Roses music at Trump rallies and events. That usage has continued. A Guns N’ Roses version of the song “Live and Let Die” featured on Trump’s visit to a Honeywell International Inc. plant earlier this week.

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