A video of three young girls performing a song at a Donald Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida, took the internet by storm Thursday, ahead of the first Republican debate of the year. Social media users were often confused by the song and dance, performed by the "Freedom Girls," a trio of pig-tailed tweens in stars and stripes costumes.
"Apologies for freedom — I can't handle this! When freedom rings — answer the call!" the song begins. "On your feet — stand up tall! Freedom's on our shoulders — USA! Enemies of freedom, face the music. Come on boys, take them down!" the girls crooned in unison. The tune and some of the lyrics are appear to have been copied from George M. Cohan's famous World War I song "Over There," written 99 years ago.
The trio is part of a larger cheerleading group for young girls. The group's manager Jeff Popick, who is also the father of one of the cheerleaders, told the Daily Beast the girls like Trump because he “makes them feel very safe.” The performance was authorized by the Trump campaign.
Popick buses the girls around in a pink stretch Hummer limo and is looking to expand their brand. The group released its first single, “The National Anthem Part 2,” on Sept. 11, 2015. The Freedom Girls website features quotes from Ronald Reagan, Taylor Swift and Popick himself.
Twitter users reacted to the video with scorn. The verified account of Stuart Braithwaite, a Scottish guitarist, said:
The latest ISIS recruitment video is one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen https://t.co/TfSqjhDIlY
— stuart braithwaite (@plasmatron) January 14, 2016
“WARNING: This song will haunt you,” read a post from Al Jazeera.
Many social media users compared the video to propaganda films in dictatorships. Michael Aranda, a video blogger, posted to his verified Twitter account:
Switch a few things around, and I would have believed that this was some weird North Korean propaganda: https://t.co/HKcsn9P92r
— Michael Aranda (@michaelaranda) January 14, 2016