Donald Trump became a household name, in part, because of the entertainment world. Now he’s been rebuffed by it.
The list of musicians who have reportedly declined to perform at Trump’s inauguration is growing. Meryl Streep’s critical speech about Trump quickly became this year’s biggest Golden Globes moment. Moby responded to a request to DJ an inauguration event with an Instagram post that began, “Hahahahaha.”
But to hear the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee tell it, Jan. 20 in Washington will have star-power because “we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect.”
“What we’ve done, instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers, is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place,” inaugural committee chairman Tom Barrack told reporters Tuesday.
By “place,” one can assume he’s referring to the west front of the U.S. Capitol. And by “soft sensuality,” well, we really have no idea what he means by that (but I must admit I am slightly concerned).
Barrack said the inauguration will be “amazing” and that planners are “trying to orient it toward the greatest tribute to America.” The day will have a “much more poetic cadence than having a circus-like celebration that’s a coronation. That’s the way this president-elect wanted it.”
Amid earlier reports that big-name musicians didn’t want to perform on his big day, Trump got defensive, claiming that “so-called” A-listers all want tickets but they did little to help Hillary Clinton, who had major backing from the celebrity world. Trump tweeted, “I want the people!”
But he also later claimed that singer Jackie Evancho, who will sing the national anthem at his inauguration, received an album sales “Trump bump.” (That may not exactly be true.)
This dynamic is becoming the norm for Trump’s relationship with the world of pop culture. When he’s rebuked, he says he doesn’t need such approval and criticizes right back. But when his presence coincides with a boost in, say, TV ratings, he uses it as evidence of his relevance.
The recent reboot NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” with new host Arnold Schwarzenegger drew fewer viewers than when the host was Trump — who referred to himself as a “ratings machine” as he pointed out the difference.
When candidate Trump hosted “Saturday Night Live,” he boasted that tickets “are the hardest to get in the history of this great show!”
A year later, President-elect Trump called SNL — and its scathing impersonation of him — “one-sided, biased,” and, “who knows long that show is going to be on? It’s a terrible show.”
In 2015, the Hollywood Reporter asked Trump about any actresses he loved, and he mentioned Streep as “excellent” and “a fine person, too.”
In 2017, Streep’s critical speech of Trump at the Golden Globes spurred the president-elect to call her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.” He also predicted a record turnout for his inauguration.
“There will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars,” Trump told the New York Times on Monday. “All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.”
The Post’s Reliable Source found there are actually plenty of gowns available in Washington for inauguration. And the next day, his inauguration committee chairman seemed to signal big stars wouldn’t be around.
“The focus for this president, since he is a celebrity, is really on the place, on the people,” Barrack said.