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Trump’s dance moves a hit at rallies

Jill Colvin
The Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — He adjusts his coat. He gazes out at the crowd. And then he goes for it.

President Donald Trump, a man who is famously particular about his appearance, is fully embracing doing a dad dance to the Village People’s “YMCA” as the finale to his rallies in the campaign’s closing stretch.

He starts with the arms, clenched fists pumping back and forth — sometimes to the beat — as though he’s on an elliptical trainer. He claps. He waves. And then he starts to bop his head and move his knees. On some nights, he sticks mostly to pointing and clapping. But on others, he lurches from side to side and jerks his body as the crowd cheers.

Backstage, top staff and campaign aides often join in with the more traditional take, using their bodies to spell out Y-M-C-A to the cheesy ’70s anthem.

Trump’s rally dance has become a rare moment of levity in an otherwise miserable campaign year marked by a deadly pandemic, an economic recession and racial turmoil. And while Trump has largely been shunned by pop culture, the dance has spawned a viral TikTok video challenge and a parody on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

“Do you want to shake your groove thing but don’t know the steps? Then order ‘Dancing with The Don’ and let President Trump teach you all the hottest moves!” Colbert’s show advertised in a parody infomercial.

Trump’s campaign staff and family members have also been promoting clips and copycats.

“Love it!” the president’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, wrote as she retweeted a video posted by a young woman replicating the president’s moves.

When a reporter tweeted a video showing some of Trump’s campaign aides dancing along — but not Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a top White House adviser — Ivanka tweeted back: “Party Foul!”

Said Trump senior advisor Steve Cortes: “President Beast Mode can boogie…”

The efforts to make the dance “a thing” come as the president has been trying to demonstrate his vigor after returning to the campaign trail following his infection with the coronavirus.

It has drawn a scowl from some, including CNN’s Don Lemon, who criticized Trump for dancing during a pandemic that has killed so many.

“That can’t be taken away no matter how many times he goes to rallies and dances to the Village People. He is having fun and dancing on the graves of 215,000 Americans,” Lemon said. “Dancing.”

“YMCA,” widely considered a gay anthem, is a relatively new addition to Trump’s rally playlist. It was swapped in after the Rolling Stones threatened in June to sue if Trump didn’t stop using their song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as his rally closer.