Thomas Rhett is applauding Taylor Swift for being the star of the show, not only for breaking the record as the most decorated female artist in American Music Awards history, but also for breaking her silence on politics.
On the red carpet ahead of the 2018 AMAs, PEOPLE chatted with the "Life Changes" singer, where he stood by his pal for taking a political stand and encouraging fans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
“Taylor’s such a force and whatever she says, a lot of people listen to her,” explained Thomas Rhett, 28. “I think it’s great that she’s using her platform to stand up for something she believes in.”
“Whatever town you’re in, voting wise, that can change your way of life or your family’s way of life,” he continued. “It’s very important to register to vote.”
After opening up the AMAs with a fiery performance of her song "I Did Something Bad," the Grammy winner picked up the biggest award of the night: artist of the year. During her powerful acceptance speech, she reminded her Swifties, yet again, to go out and vote in the midterm elections.
“I just wanna say to the fans … you have been so nice to me and fun, and you’re so funny and you’re so cool and so loyal,” said the superstar during her acceptance speech. “Every time that you have made me lucky enough to ever get to stand on a stage and have something really sparkly in my hands … it means something different.”
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“This time, I just want you to know it means encouragement … for me to be better, work harder and to make you guys proud as much as I possibly can,” she continued. “This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people is the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys!”
On Sunday, the “Look What You Made Me Do” singer, 28, broke her silence on politics to endorse two Democratic candidates running in Tennessee midterm elections.
Check out PEOPLE’s full AMAs coverage to get the latest news on one of music’s biggest nights.
“I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee,” Swift began her lengthy message alongside a subdued Polaroid of herself. “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”
Swift continued, “I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
“I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love,” she explained. “Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn.”
Swift analyzed Republican Rep. Blackburn’s history. “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.”
Swift also gave a shout-out to two Democratic candidates, writing, “I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.”
She concluded with a call to action. “So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count,” Swift said. “But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting!”
On Sunday, Swift showed her appreciation for frenemy Katy Perry’s latest show of support by liking a post on Tumblr that called attention to Perry’s like. For years, the superstars have had a complicated friendship, but in May, Perry sent Swift an olive branch and sweet letter ahead of Swift’s record-breaking Reputation Stadium Tour.
Swift also raked in likes from A-list Instagram users including Blake Lively, Chrissy Teigen, Karlie Kloss (who is engaged to Joshua Kushner, Ivanka Trump‘s brother-in-law), Emily Ratajkowski, Anna Faris, Kevin McHale and more.
Though Swift did not indicate who she voted for in the 2016 presidential election, she did encourage fans to exercise their right.
“Today is the day. Go out and VOTE,” Swift captioned an Instagram photo of herself waiting in line at her polling location on Election Day 2016.
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