Obama on Jay-Z Trip: 'I Have Better Things to Do'
By BRYAN LYNN
April 17, 2013
President Barack Obama has personally weighed in on the controversy over Jay-Z and Beyonce's recent visit to Cuba and reaffirmed that the White House had no prior knowledge of the trip and did not approve the couple's travel to the restricted socialist nation.
"I wasn't familiar that they were taking the trip, Obama said during an interview with Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie that aired Wednesday. "My understanding is I think they went through a group that organizes these educational trips down to Cuba. You know, this is not something the White House was involved with." He then added: "We've got better things to do."
Last week White House press secretary Jay Carney was also asked to comment on a new track written by the hip-hop mogul after his trip to Cuba entitled Open Letter, which contained lyrics seeming to imply that Obama himself gave Jay-Z and Beyonce special clearance to travel to the Caribbean country. Americans are subject to special visa requirements for traveling to Cuba.
Carney denied White House involvement in the trip after being asked to clarify lyrics from Jay-Z's song that included: "Obama said, 'Chill, you gonna get me impeached'/ You don't need this s*** anyway; chill with me on the beach. I done turned Havana to Atlanta/ Guayabera shirts and bandannas. ...Boy from the hood got White House clearance."
"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," Carney joked at the time. "Because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel, as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it."