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According to MSN:

The phone belonging to the judge presiding over the closely watched double homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse rang at least twice during the trial with Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” as his ringtone.

The song has been heavily used at rallies headlined by former President Donald Trump, and singer Lee Greenwood performed the song at his inauguration.

As the trial was returning from lunch on Wednesday, the Rittenhouse defence team was speaking when Judge Bruce Schroeder’s phone rang to the tune of the patriotic anthem. [...]

“’God Bless the USA’ is the opening song played at every Trump rally. Lee Greenwood literally sang it at Trump’s inauguration,” Mikel Jollett tweeted.

There's a few skeptical questions here:

  1. Was the song on the judge's phone indeed “God Bless the USA”?
  2. Is this song played at "every Trump rally"?
  3. Is the song itself primarily associated with Donald Trump, given that the article implies the judge is his supporter?
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    How could one objectively answer #3? What kind of evidence would one need? Nov 26, 2021 at 18:56
  • #3 is not a claim made by the MSN article.
    – Kyralessa
    Dec 11, 2021 at 21:52

3 Answers 3

6

So to answer #1:

The moment is captured in the video "Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Day 8" in this live commentary replay.

One can easily compare it to the original song on YouTube and conclude easily that the songs are the same.

The answer to #2:

As it has been stated, it's definitively inconclusive.. There's no definitive proof, and there never will be proof. This is due to not only the vague term 'every', but the definition of a rally, and how various gatherings may be defined as either a rally or something else.

The answer to #3:

enter image description here

If Google Trends is to be trusted, the #1 association with this song is the USA's independence day. If we cross-compare the two search terms, there are only two days where both were trending on the same day.. Jul 4th 2021, and Jul 4th 2020. While we can't conclude that there is a direct link between Donald Trump rallies and the song God Bless the USA, we can conclude that there's either a direct link OR there's a third item between the two which is associated with both.

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    "If google analytics is to be trusted, the #1 association with this song is the USA's independence day." What exactly in that Google Analytics page shows that? As far as I can tell they list "related topics" as "1. Ringtone 2. US Presidential inauguration 3. Theme music " etc. I guess you're referring to the popular search times for the phrase, which indeed seem to be in June-July... mostly. But there was also a spike in January 2017.
    – Fizz
    Nov 27, 2021 at 4:50
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    I'm not sure how Google analytics decides "interest by subregion", but they list South Dakota, West Virginia, Utah, Nebraska, and Mississippi as top 5 in that regard. So one could also say that it's more popular in rural/Republican USA based on that.
    – Fizz
    Nov 27, 2021 at 5:01
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    I don't see anything on the analytics page to link it to indepence day
    – Joe W
    Nov 27, 2021 at 5:33
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    Just because something trends over a certain time period doesn't mean that it is mainly associated with something that happens during that time. If you notice there are several peaks that are about the same or more on different dates. You can't just look at one piece of data and make a judgement based on that.
    – Joe W
    Nov 27, 2021 at 23:15
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    I think you are ignoring what I am saying, I visited your link and saw no reference to independence day at all. The only thing I see at all that is tangentially related is a spike around that day but there are other similar or larger spikes around different days of the year.
    – Joe W
    Nov 28, 2021 at 5:11
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The other answers address 1 and 2 so I am just addressing 3. "God Bless the USA" came out in 1984 and that year peaked at #7 on the Billboard top 100 chart. It has been relatively well known since then, and peaked again at #16 on the September 2001 chart, likely because of the September 11 attacks and surge of patriotism afterward. It's difficult to qualify what "primarily associated with Donald Trump" means and over what time period, but "God Bless the USA" has certainly been a popular song since its release and it requires a significant leap of logic to assume that a person likes it because it was played at Donald Trump's rallies when it has been a well-known song long before 2016.

5

The Washington Examiner, which (unlike MSN) is a right-wing/conservative publication, also reported this as a matter of fact on Nov 10 (with less commentary).

Everyone watching Kyle Rittenhouse's homicide trial heard a patriotic tune come from Judge Bruce Schroeder's phone on Wednesday.

The call interrupted Rittenhouse's lawyer as he was speaking on his client's behalf. The ring tone? Lee Greenwood’s "God Bless the U.S.A."

Schroeder, who appeared to be annoyed by the interruption, dismissed the call almost as soon as it went off. [...]

Greenwood, an award-winning country artist, performed at inaugural events for former President Donald Trump and other Republican presidents, and "God Bless the U.S.A." has blared over the speakers at Trump rallies.

Only Fox News appeared less convinced (Nov 11)

Attacks against the judge began on Wednesday after Schroeder’s phone went off during the trial. Many people speculated that the song that played was Lee Greenwood’s 1984 song "God Bless The USA."

The rest of the Fox News article is alas about the controversy on the Asian food delivery comments by the judge.

So there doesn't seem to be a lot of dispute that the ring tone happened like that, although some right-wing publications didn't report it as a certainty.

Alas the newspapers which report this with certainty don't report who was their particular eye- (actually ear-) witness to that occurrence that communicated that fact to them. If that's what you were looking for as confirmation. While there are some [selective] video recordings from the trial, I'm not aware if they captured this moment.

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  • This addressing only the first of the OP's three questions. Dec 10, 2021 at 8:43

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