In January 2016, performers at a Donald Trump rally known as the “Freedom Kids” or “USA Freedom Kids” achieved viral video success with an eye-catching song-and-dance number:
Remember a few months ago, when presidential hopeful Ben Carson’s campaign tapped a young Republican rapper named Aspiring Mogul to write a Ben Carson-themed rap? (That sick flute riff! How could you forget?)
Never one to be outdone, it seems Donald Trump also felt he needed a snappy, “see-I’m-hip-with-the-youngs” kind of theme song, and this, ladies and gentlemen — this unholy stew of innocent children, pageant outfits and propaganda — is the result.
Although the moment passed, the Freedom Kids are still orbiting the Trump campaign in a different capacity. According to a report first published by the Washington Post, one of the girls’ fathers said that the troupe might file suit against the Trump campaign over unclear compensation promises:
Jeff Popick, father of the smallest Freedom Kid and author of “Freedom’s Call” (the song performed at the Trump rally), told The Washington Post that he planned to file a lawsuit against the campaign for violating its agreement with the group.
“This is not a billion-dollar lawsuit,” Popick said. “I’m doing this because I think they have to do the right thing. And if this means having to go through the court system to enforce them doing the right thing, then that’s what I have to do. I’m not looking to do battle with the Trump campaign, but I have to show my girls that this is the right thing.”
Popick is quick to explain that the agreement was not written down, but, instead, involves promises from various agents of the Trump campaign which he says were then broken.
Popick maintained he bargained down from financial compensation to making a merchandise table available to the group, but even that concession didn’t materialize:
It started in Pensacola. When Popick first reached out to the Trump campaign about performing, he spoke with various people including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. His understanding from the campaign was that the Kids would make two appearances in Florida, where Popick lives. The first event didn’t come to fruition, and Popick says he asked for $2,500 in payment for the second performance, in Pensacola. The campaign made a counter-offer: How about a table where the group could presell albums? Popick took the deal.
When they arrived at the venue, though, there was no table, Popick says. The result was “complete chaos,” he said. “They clearly had made no provisions for that.”
Later during the month of January 2016, the Trump campaign purportedly invited the Freedom Kids to appear at another rally, but due to a last minute change-of-plans the performance didn’t happen, and the “cost of the flights, rental car and hotel were all absorbed by Popick.”
It appeared Popick was holding out for “a performance at the convention” in lieu of compensation, which the Freedom Kids did not receive. Popick did not provide details of the planned suit (such as a proposed figure for damages sought), simply stating he consulted with an attorney and believed he had a case.