Legendary country singer and longtime progressive activist Willie Nelson has enraged a small but vocal right-wing segment of his fans by endorsing Rep. Beto O'Rourke over Sen. Ted Cruz in the upcoming Texas Senate race, but the 85-year-old musician made clear in an appearance on ABC's "The View" on Tuesday that he doesn't give a damn.
"My father has always led with his heart—in his life and his music, he's put his energy toward building a heart-based family and community with music as a cultural glue."
"I don't care," Nelson said of his angry fans, who are apparently unaware of his decades-long history of fighting for progressive causes like peace and LGBTQ equality. "You know, they're entitled to their opinions and I'm entitled to mine."
"Everybody has an opinion," Nelson added. "Everybody has a right to an opinion. I think I have one too."
More than 20,000 people have already signed up for the rally, and the event could come at a pivotal moment for O'Rourke, who—according to an Ipsos poll published on Wednesday—is leading Cruz by two points.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Never Miss a Beat.
Get our best delivered to your inbox.
"My wife Annie and I have met and spoken with Beto and we share his concern for the direction things are headed," Nelson said in a statement. "Beto embodies what is special about Texas, an energy and an integrity that is completely genuine."
In the face of continued right-wing backlash, Nelson's son Lukas issued a video statement on Sunday defending his father's decision to back O'Rourke over Cruz.
"My father has always led with his heart—in his life and his music, he's put his energy toward building a heart-based family and community with music as a cultural glue," Lukas said.
"The issues that are important to him have less to do with himself and what's good for him and more to do with what’s good for the community," Lukas continued. "Republican or Democrat, he's always stood for the candidate that best represented his values which include love for thy neighbor no matter what color or nationality, responsibility with firearms—including some regulation to prevent unnecessary violence—and healthcare that isn't owned by private companies who put your health below their profit."
Watch Lukas' statement: