Though it admittedly wasn't as groundbreaking as her Like a Virgin shenanigans of the past, Madonna's tour to promote her 2015 album Rebel Heart, which was heralded as her best in a decade, could be considered monumental in that it proved that even nearing 60, Madonna was just as capable as ever of provoking and doing so while gyrating on a stripper pole while surrounded by a group of women decked out in nun habits and underwear.
Except now, having just released the DVD and live concert album of the show, Madonna is underlining that it was about much more than that. The tour begins with footage of her warning, in 2015, "When those fascist dictators posing as righteous men come for you…be prepared to fight for what you believe in"—a message she acknowledged was quite prescient for 2015, two years before the Trump administration made its home in the White House, a move she said she was "not surprised [by] at all."
"People should listen to me!" she told Entertainment Weekly with a laugh. "Of course I’m saying I predicted it."
It was in fact her previous tour that seems to have given Madonna her soothsaying abilities. "The winds were changing, and people were becoming more and more fearful and marginalized. I thought we were going backwards on a lot of the progress that we’ve made as the human race," she said, pointing that her tour, which lasted from September 2015 to March 2016, was followed up on by the election and "what's happened in the rest of the world."
And while Madonna gamely noted that her "role obviously is to entertain," and she's not going to do that job "without being provocative," she's not taking full responsibility for "warning people" about Trump. "I’m sure I’m not the only one," she said. "A lot of people have been talking about it and trying to call attention to it. But people just want to hear good news, or they want to be distracted."
Indeed, others like Michael Moore have long been making more explicit (and terrifying) warnings about Trump since at least around 2015, too, and The Simpsons predicted Trump's presidency 16 years ago, showcasing it as "the logical last stop before hitting bottom" and the true illustration of "America going insane."
Madonna, however, has them all beat. Even though it reached its peak this year, when Madonna said she's "thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House" in her speech at the Women's March on Washington, leading to the then freshly inaugurated Trump to tell Fox News that "honestly, she's disgusting," Madonna's feud with Trump stretches back three decades. In fact, she first made her case against Trump becoming president 27 years ago, when Glenn O'Brien raised the idea of him campaigning, pointing out his "aura of power" in Interview back in 1990.
"You mean Donald Trump is powerful? He’s a wimp. Oh, don’t print that. I want tickets to the next Tyson fight," she said, alluding to the 1989 Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks fight and after party at Trump's Atlantic City hotel and casino, where her face was pictured on a "Wanted" poster and where she got into an argument with Trump after he wouldn't accommodate the reporter with her with a seat. (To make room for him, she sat on Sean Penn's lap.)
O'Brien continued to make his case, arguing that there are periods where "the country wants a real solid family man," and there are periods where the country wants, as Madonna put it, "a guy with a dick."
"But Donald Trump? Isn’t there anyone else?" Madonna asked, decades before the rest of us did. "Couldn’t we get someone more handsome?"
Meet the Women Who Made History as the Organizers of the Women's March on Washington: