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Taylor Swift. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage via Getty Images

Taylor Swift told Vogue that she chose not to endorse Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election because she believed President Trump had "[weaponized] the idea of the celebrity endorsement."

"He was going around saying, 'I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you.' I just knew I wasn’t going to help."

Why it matters: Swift faced criticism for years for her silence on political issues, which changed with her endorsement of Tennessee Democrats during the 2018 midterms. That move caused thousands of people to register to vote, BuzzFeed News reported.

Swift also told the magazine she believed her own personal controversies at the time, stemming from her feud with rapper Kanye West — who later famously declared his support for Trump — wouldn't have helped Clinton:

"Also, you know, the summer before that election, all people were saying was 'She’s calculated. She’s manipulative. She’s not what she seems. She’s a snake. She’s a liar.' These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? 'Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women.' Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses."

The big picture: Since her 2018 endorsements, Swift has become much more vocal about her political leanings — especially on LGBTQ issues. She wrote an open letter in June to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican, asking him to support the House-passed Equality Act.

  • Her Change.org petition on the subject has been signed by multiple 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke and Amy Klobuchar.

What's next: Swift will likely increase her political activism heading into 2020. She told Elle earlier this year, "Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric."

  • "Only as someone approaching 30 did I feel informed enough to speak about [politics] to my 114 million followers. ... I’m going to do more to help. We have a big race coming up next year."

Go deeper: Celebs largely shun 2020 spotlight

Go deeper

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.