Here’s President-elect Donald Trump’s explanation-slash-spin for the dearth of celebrities so far slated for his inauguration: he doesn’t want them there. Take that, Katy Perry!
A Trump tweet on Thursday night seemed to be a defense against the drumroll of recent reports about celebrities who have turned down gigs to perform or otherwise be involved in his inauguration next month — an event that under the Obama administration had become a star-studded extravaganza. (Heck, even former president George W. Bush got then-chart-topping Ricky Martin and Jessica Simpson in 2001.)
“The so-called ‘A’ list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary,” Trump wrote. “NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!”
The so-called "A" list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
A spokesman for the inaugural committee did not immediately return an email asking to which celebrities Trump was referring in his tweet.
Basically, he’s saying that all the famous folk — and he’s implying that they’re the same musicians and actors who campaigned in droves for his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton — are simply begging to come, but he doesn’t want them there. Instead, he wants Real Folks.
Pretty convenient. So far, the only solo performer confirmed for official events on inauguration weekend is sixteen-year-old “America’s Got Talent” contestant Jackie Evancho, who is booked to sing the national anthem at the swearing-in ceremony. (And though they’re not exactly tabloid faves, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is on deck, and so are the Rockettes.)
Others have turned down Team Trump, including multi-Grammy winning producer David Foster, who would have brought his deep roster of notable musician friends to the table. Acclaimed tenor Andrea Bocelli had been mentioned as a possible inauguration performer, although he faced a backlash on Twitter from fans vowing to #boycottbocelli for the move.
But in an echo of Trump’s Thursday tweet, the Trump campaign insisted they weren’t actually turned down at all. In a CNBC interview, Presidential Inauguration Committee head Thomas Barrack said it was the other way around — that Bocelli had volunteered, but, “Donald said, ‘You don’t need to.’”
Some “talent” signed up for events surrounding the inauguration: country act Big& Rich are headlining a concert put on by the Recording Industry Association of America, and Toby Keith and Alabama are set to perform at an “Opening Day” bash Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., are throwing the day after the swearing-in.
And more names of varying wattage are expected — the inaugural committee on Wednesday announced a “Make America Great Again” concert on the Mall similar to events held prior to previous inaugurals. Someone has got to take the stage.