Carney on Jay-Z: ‘I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury’

Rachel Rose Hartman

It's not often you hear rap lyrics recited in the White House briefing room.

But Thursday's press briefing quickly turned into a dissection of Jay-Z's latest lyrics.

I turned Havana to Atlanta...
Boy from the hood I got White House clearance...
Obama said "chill, you gonna get me impeached"
But you don't need this [expletive] anyway
Chill with me on the beach

Those lines from Jay-Z's "Open Letter" released Thursday were read deadpan by Politico reporter Donovan Slack, who was pressing press secretary Jay Carney on whether the White House was involved in permitting Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé's travel to Cuba.

The White House says it had nothing to do with the celebrity couple's travel plans—that all travel to Cuba is handled by the Treasury Department (which confirmed Tuesday that the trip was for "educational" purposes).

So what to make of Jay-Z's lyrics about getting White House clearance?

"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," Carney said.

"The White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody's travel to Cuba. It's a song, Donovan," Carney added. "The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip."