‘I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury’: White House denies involvement in Jay-Z Cuba trip

U.S. singer Beyonce (L) and her husband rapper Jay-Z walk as they leave their hotel in Havana in this April 4, 2013 file photo.  Credit: Reuters
Beyonce and Jay-Z leave their hotel in Havana on April 4.
Credit: Reuters

President Barack Obama’s spokesman has denied any White House role in allowing a visit to Cuba by rapper Jay-Z and pop star Beyonce last week, after the hip-hop mogul released a song that suggested he had presidential permission for the trip.

“I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury,” Jay Carney said to laughter among reporters, referring to the department that approved the trip as an educational mission.

“I am absolutely saying the White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody’s personal — anybody’s travel to Cuba,” Carney added. “That is something that Treasury handles.”

Jay-Z hit back at critics of his trip in a rap entitled “Open Letter,” released online Thursday, saying he was a “boy from the ‘hood but I got White House clearance.”

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, and wife Beyonce — both notable Obama supporters — last week visited the communist-run island nation where they celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary.

In the song, Jay-Z, 43, likens himself to folk singer Bob Dylan and challenges critics to fine him or put him in jail.

“Wanna give me jail time and a fine, fine, let me commit a real crime,” Jay-Z rapped.

The rapper also cited his close relationship with the president in the song, rapping “Obama said chill, you all going to get me impeached … chill with me on the beach.”

The visit by Jay-Z and Beyonce, which was approved by the Treasury Department as an educational trip, caused a stir in part because of the couple’s celebrity and the longstanding trade embargo against Cuba that prohibits tourism by U.S. citizens.

The couple’s trip was criticized by three Cuban-American members of Congress, all Republicans who support a hard stance on Cuba.

U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart said the trip was being used by the Cuban government for propaganda and assailed Jay-Z and Beyonce for exploiting Treasury Department regulations to vacation in Cuba.

Sen. Marco Rubio also said the visit highlighted the way travel programs to Cuba “have been abused by tourists.”

In a reference to the muddled politics of the Cuban embargo, Jay-Z rapped, “I’m in Cuba. I love Cubans. This Communist talk is so confusing. When it’s from China, the very mic that I’m using.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.