Musician and producer David Foster might have turned down an offer to work on President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, but it’s not because he didn’t want the gig. A source tells us that Foster, who has been friendly with Trump for years, feared angering some of his other friends, who were big supporters of Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton — the very same people who are also donors to his charity, the David Foster Foundation.
“He actually wanted to do it,” says the person with knowledge of the situation. “It’s a high-profile thing — but he couldn’t risk it.”
News reports indicated that 16-time Grammy winner Foster was helping to organize the music for the event in Washington, lending the gloss of having a big name with plenty of celebrity contacts attached to the inaugural event, but the musician later clarified that he had, in fact, given the Trump camp the no-can-do. “I was asked … I politely and respectfully declined,” he said in a statement posted on social media.
Foster’s deep-pocketed Clinton-ite pals include Univision’s Haim Saban and Canadian businessman and philanthropist Frank Giustra, we’re told. They are among friends who have long supported the David Foster Foundation, which helps children in need of organ transplants. Foster’s rep did not respond to a request for comment.
So far, there’s only one confirmed performer signed up to serenade the new president. Sixteen-year-old “America’s Got Talent” contestant Jackie Evancho is slated to sing the national anthem. Acclaimed tenor Andrea Bocelli, a frequent collaborator of Foster’s, has been mentioned as a possible inauguration performer, although he’s facing a backlash on Twitter from fans vowing to #boycottbocelli.
Foster’s dilemma underscores the difficulty that inaugural planners have had in securing talent for the events surrounding Trump’s Jan. 20 swearing-in. Trump’s polarizing politics have made taking the gig a difficult choice for celebs, whether they’re worried about losing ticket sales or foundation donations. Mused one Washington insider with music-world connections: “It’s tough — would you want to risk turning off half your fan base?”