Oliver Anthony performs at Eagle Creek Golf Club and Grill in Moyock, N.C., on Aug. 19. Kendall Warner/The Virginian-Pilot via Associated Press

Fox News kicked off Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate by asking candidates why Oliver Anthony’s hit song, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” is resonating so strongly with people nationwide.

Within mere days of releasing the song, Anthony went from an unknown singer to a Billboard history-maker. People on the right, including Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, were quick to label the song as the new conservative “anthem.”

But according to Anthony, the right-wing politicians singing his praises might want to give the tune another listen.

“It’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news trying to identify with me like I’m one of them,” the singer said in a YouTube video posted Friday. “It’s aggravating to see certain musicians and politicians act like we’re buddies, like we’re fighting the same struggle here.”

Anthony said his song was particularly out of place at the top of the Republican debate, where candidates including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie argued over which of them should challenge President Biden in the 2024 general election.

“Our country is in decline,” DeSantis replied when asked about the popularity of Anthony’s song. “We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement and reverse American decline.”


To some, the lyrics of “Rich Men North of Richmond” tout some very common right-wing talking points, including slamming taxes and the welfare system.

“We got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat and the obese milkin’ welfare,” Anthony sings. “Well, God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds, taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds.”

However, Anthony thinks some people are missing the point. He chuckled while discussing the matter on YouTube.

“That song has nothing to do with Joe Biden,” he said. “That song was written about the people on that stage and a lot more too. Not just them, but definitely them.”

Anthony went on to say that liberals criticizing his music should also refrain from attacking him over the way his message is being “weaponized” politically.

“That (expletive) has got to stop,” he said.

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