Cardi B is obsessed with FDR — here's why

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Rapper Cardi B grew up poor in New York's South Bronx and at 19 she was working as a stripper. The star pulled herself out of poverty to top the charts though, and on Wednesday she broke Beyonce's record for the most simultaneous Billboard US Hot 100 entries by a female, with 13 songs on the chart to Beyonce's high of 12.

But the 25-year-old, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, is not only making history, she's inspired by it.

Cardi B recently revealed to GQ magazine that she's "obsessed" with presidents, especially Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

"He helped us get over the Depression, all while he was in a wheelchair. Like, this man was suffering from polio at the time of his presidency, and yet all he was worried about was trying to make America great — make America great again for real," she told GQ of the United States' 32nd president, who was partially paralyzed.

"He's the real 'Make America Great Again,' because if it wasn't for him, old people wouldn't even get Social Security," she said.

Even Bernie Sanders agrees with Cardi B.


"Cardi B is right," tweeted Sanders. "If we are really going to make America great we need to strengthen Social Security...." he said.

In her interview with GQ, Cardi B, whose album "Invasion of Privacy" dropped on April 6, gushed further about FDR.

"[O]n top of that, while he was president there was a f------ war going on," she told GQ.

She's right — FDR, the only president to be elected to four terms, led the country through economic reform. He enacted Social Security in 1935 to give financial assistance to the elderly, unemployed and disadvantaged, and formed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1934 to regulate the stock market and instill confidence in investors after the crash of 1929.

FDR in the Oval Office in 1945. Source: Getty/Bettmann

He also led America toward victory in World War II and, as notes, laid "the groundwork for the post-war peace organization that would become the United Nations."

Roosevelt died in office in 1945.

But Cardi B isn't the only person who Roosevelt inspires — his speeches and support helped Americans get through some of the country's darkest days, and the lessons he taught are still relevant today.

Roosevelt's first inauguration in 1933 was during the height of the Great Depression. And it was during his inaugural speech that he uttered the famous words, "[T]he only thing we have to fear is fear itself." You can't let fear paralyze you, he said.

FDR was also fond of having "fireside chats," speeches addressed to the American people and broadcast over the radio. It was during one of his first that he advised against letting mistakes, which everyone makes, stop you from reaching goals.

"I have no expectation of making a hit every time I come to bat," he said, talking about reform. "What I seek is the highest possible batting average, not only for myself but for the team."

And in his January 1937 inaugural address Roosevelt said, "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

It's a sentiment today's billionaires like Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg often echo.

But Cardi B doesn't only love the former president. She's a fan of his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, comparing her to another well-loved first lady.

"So all this s--- going on in the United States, while recouping the country from an economic tragedy, making sure that America won the war—and his wife? I would say she was almost like Michelle Obama," Cardi B told GQ.

"[Eleanor] was such a good humanitarian, and we both got the same birthday, October 11th," she added.

Indeed, Eleanor was known for her active role in politics and she advocated for the rights of the poor, of minorities and for those who were disadvantaged, according to the FDR Presidential Library and Museum.

And Eleanor said some inspiring things herself.

"People grow through experiences, if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built...," she said in 1941.

And she once wrote, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face....You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

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