During one of her campaign’s town hall events on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley played country star Jason Aldean’s latest single, “Try That in a Small Town,” for an enthusiastic crowd.
Haley posted a video of the event on Twitter with a message saying, “You all know I love music. Tonight in Greenville we added a new song to the playlist: Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town.’”
In the 20-second video clip, the crowded room at the Greenville, South Carolina town hall event can be seen listening to Jason Aldean’s song, eagerly awaiting Haley’s appearance on stage.
You all know I love music… tonight in Greenville we added a new song to the playlist: Jason Aldean's "Try That in a Small Town." pic.twitter.com/1qzlORFXpm
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) July 20, 2023
Haley joins a growing list of politicians showing support for Aldean amidst controversy over his single, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and former President Donald Trump.
Aldean’s video strongly denounces rioting and the growing lawlessness observed in the United States.
The video has garnered 346,000 views on YouTube and showcases Aldean performing in front of a courthouse, interspersed with footage depicting flag burning, protesters engaging in confrontations with police and incidents of convenience store robbery.
In a later segment of the video, text appears on the screen from Fox News, displaying the words “state of emergency declared in Georgia.” Aldean’s video contrasts these intense scenes of violence with more peaceful moments, such as a girl playing hopscotch and an American flag proudly raised.
Some critics of the song expressed concerns about certain lyrics in which Aldean directly addresses criminals and rioters. The harshest critics leveled accusations of racism and glorification of gun violence against the song and its video. As a result, CMT decided to remove the music video from its playlists.
Aldean refuted the accusations of racism, stating that the song evokes memories of the strong sense of community he experienced while growing up.
Aldean said, “No one, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart. ‘Try That In A Small Town,’ for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.”