Befitting his being an obnoxious YouTube mash-up of a person, Donald Trump has spent his campaign collecting takedown notices from artists whose songs he’s appropriated, to often-ironic effect. The Rolling Stones, Queen, the estates of George Harrison and Luciano Pavarotti—you could construct an entire dinner party playlist composed of musicians who have publicly disavowed Donald Trump’s use of their songs (or in John Oliver’s case, make a video). And be sure to save a slot for the late film composer Jerry Goldsmith, whose theme for the 1997 Harrison Ford thriller Air Force One has long been used to score Trump’s own presidential disaster film, and which has now also garnered the ire of the movie’s producer.
Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, producer Gail Katz says she sent a letter to Trump’s campaign requesting that it please stop playing the Air Force One theme at his events, where it’s soundtracked such dramatic, edge-of-your-seat moments as Trump exiting a helicopter.
Some might just let Trump have this one, hoping that it’s as close as he’ll ever get to Air Force One. But Goldsmith, who died in 2004, “would have been extremely unhappy with Trump co-opting his art to sell his image” says his former agent, Richard Kraft. “Goldsmith composed music to underscore a make-believe, heroic president … not to help create a phony soundtrack for Trump. He would have been appalled to have his music selling a product he would greatly dislike.”
You can understand why Trump’s campaign might co-opt the Air Force One music for its own make-believe heroic president, particularly one who talks like he’s going to dispatch ISIS himself in a mid-air, barehanded brawl the morning after his inauguration. But Katz says, “Similar to the plane in Air Force One, the music has been hijacked and we want it back”—and her cease and desist letter is her growled warning to get off it.
Of course, when it comes to such requests, Trump has shown the merciless indifference of an off-screen Harrison Ford, so it seems pretty unlikely he’ll be swayed by this latest appeal to stop taking things that don’t belong to him. But at the very least, maybe he could swap it for a more thematically appropriate Jerry Goldsmith score. Like Chinatown. Or The Omen.