Jay-Z -- Beyonce Cuba trip: President Barack Obama addresses issue (Video)
Jay-Z's "Open Letter"-gate finally appears to be coming to a close.
President Barack Obama told NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday that he did not approve or have any advance knowledge of the rapper and his wife Beyonce's controversial trip to Cuba.
"I wasn't familiar that they were taking the trip," the president told co-host Savannah Guthrie during a comprehensive interview of current events. "My understanding is I think they went through a group that organizes these educational trips down to Cuba. This is not something the White House was involved with. We've got better things to do."
The statement is the latest development in a prolonged exchange between the spheres of entertainment and politics, complicated by rapper Jay-Z's release of the track "Open Letter" on April 11. The song implicated Obama and the White House in the pair's divisive expedition.
"I done turned Havana to Atlanta," Jay-Z stated through lyrics. "Boy from the hood but got White House clearance / Obama said, 'Chill, you gonna get me impeached.'"
The president's recent interview follows a similar statement White House press secretary Jay Carney made to reporters last week.
"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," Carney said, referring to the rapper's lyric that states he received "White House clearance." The line from the song raised questions as to whether President Barack Obama approved the rapper's trip, especially since the two are openly acquaintances, with Jay-Z at one time saying he had the president on "speed dial."
"I am absolutely saying that the White House and the president had nothing to do with anybody's travel to Cuba," Carney continued. "That is something the Treasury handles."
U.S. citizens are not allowed to travel to Cuba for mere "tourism," although tens of thousands Americans travel there each year on academic, religious, journalistic or cultural exchange licenses.