- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2020

Former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe bragged during a late-night appearance Thursday that he once told President Trump to “shut up” years ago at a concert in New York.

Mr. Stipe, who is promoting his new book “Our Interference Times,” brought up the 1990s-era exchange during an appearance on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” He said he was attending a benefit concert hosted by fellow singer and friend Patti Smith at Joe’s Pub in downtown Manhattan after Ms. Smith relaunched her singing career following a nearly 15-year hiatus.

Mr. Stipe said he was in the VIP overflow booth at the start of the show when a “big, loud guy came in with a date” and sat down next to him.

“He was talking to her and he kept talking to her through the performance,” Mr. Stipe said. “And, you know, Joe’s Pub is a very small room and people were turning around and it was very disruptive and rude, frankly.”

Mr. Stipe said he lost his cool when the man kept talking after Ms. Smith started her set.

He said, “I was like, ‘excuse me, that’s my friend, and you have to stop talking. Stop, what are you doing? Shut up!’ I said, ‘shut up.’ The guy got up and left. He walked out, he took his date who he was obviously trying to pick up and left the club.

“And do you know who that guy was? Donald J. Trump,” he said self-assuredly, prompting a round of applause.

Mr. Stipe also made it clear how he feels about Mr. Trump using R.E.M.’s music at his rallies. At one point, he encouraged the audience to boo the president.

“Is there nothing you can do to stop him [from playing your music]?” Mr. Colbert asked.

“It’s a licensing problem and there’s nothing we can do except respectfully request that they not use it,” the singer responded.

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