OK, so Donald Trump might be the huuugest, classiest (well, at least the flashiest) candidate at the GOP presidential debate Thursday night in Cleveland. But the audience, too, will include at least a couple of bona fide rock stars.
Members of the band Aerosmith will be among the 5,000 folks watching the 10-candidate event in person at the Quicken Loans Arena, Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer tells Tammy Haddad of the White House Correspondents Insider.
The audience — the largest in debate history — will comprise “folks from Ohio, Republican supporters, friends and family of the candidates,” Spicer says in a video interview. “It’s kind of a cross section.”
The band was set to play at the nearby Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, and got connected to debate organizers, who helped find them tickets (that’s a turnabout from the usual state of affairs for a band used to playing sold-out shows of their own). Frontman Steven Tyler, a source tells us, will be a guest of none other than Trump himself.
Proximity played a role in their attendance, and so did politics, since guitarist Joe Perry has publicly identified himself as an “old-school Republican.” It’s unclear what Tyler’s political leanings are.
Still, Thursday’s event isn’t about the folks in the seats — no matter how famous they might be. Audience members aren’t allowed to speak, let alone belt out the lyrics of “Walk This Way.”
“The audience is there to observe first-hand, but not to be part of the debate,” Spicer says.