When President Donald Trump called the renowned deceased opera singer Luciano Pavarotti his friend late Thursday, the moment lit up the internet.
“Friend of mine, great friend of mine,” Trump said of the rare maestro praising Italy’s rich culture. While Trump was perhaps reflecting on his relationship with the bearded tenor before he died, that didn’t stop people from having a field day.
The rare maestro died at 71 in Northern Modena after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He may very well have been friendly with Trump, but Pavarotti’s family were no fans of Trump’s frequent use of Pavarotti’s music at rallies. In July, during Trump’s campaign Pavarotti’s family asked his team to stop playing the late singer’s signature song — a recording of Giacomo Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma.”
“As members of his immediate family, we would like to recall that the values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the world view offered by the candidate Donald Trump,” the statement read.
People couldn’t stop joking about Pavarotti, the supposed Trump-friendly ghost. Even late night host Jimmy Kimmel evoked the bearded man in ghost form to ask him if Trump was really his pal on Live! See some of the reactions below.
Trump gives a shout out to Pavarotti, calls him "a good friend of mine".
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 20, 2017
I have something in common with Donald, Luciano Pavarotti is also a good friend of mine! Just had a Unicorn Frappaccino with him yesterday.
— chaplinlives (@chaplinlives) April 21, 2017
TRUMP TELLS ITALIAN PM THAT PAVAROTTI, WHO DIED 10 YEARS AGO, IS ‘A GREAT FRIEND’ OF HIS
— InxsySparxs (@InxsyS) April 21, 2017
Trump just tried to impress the prime minister of Italy by dropping in that he's friends with Pavarotti. That happened.
— Your Friend Andy (@A_Merritt) April 20, 2017
Wow. Pavarotti IS dead, and Hawaii IS a State! Things learned on Twitter today.
Can't wait for tomorrow's fun facts.
— Jackson Poyfair (@jackrox) April 21, 2017
Trump gives shoutout to Pavarotti, "A great friend of mine."
He'll be upset when he finds out Pavarotti died n 2007 pic.twitter.com/r6beGfGVZ2
— Aaron Vallely (@Vallmeister) April 21, 2017
I wasn’t aware my great friend Luciano Pavarotti died 10 years ago. I’ve asked his wife to let me know immediately if his condition changes. pic.twitter.com/nxVHKKNFuA
— Donald J. Trump (@RealDonaldTrFan) April 21, 2017
Trump met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni for the first time Thursday afternoon to discuss the Group of Seven industrialized nations meeting in Italy in May. Gentiloni is a member of the Democrat Party and former foreign minister.