During the presidential campaigns, celebrities lined up to show their support of Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee was able to build entire spots around admired actresses cheering, “I’m with her.” Elizabeth Banks made a Pitch Perfect-inspired ad of her own, packed with famous friends. And Joss Whedon assembled a bunch of the Avengers, along with a slew of other stars to try to topple Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the GOP candidate “promised the biggest and the best entertainers (for the Republican National Convention speeches). He got Chachi and Antonio Sabato Jr.”
Dude couldn’t even wrangle Clint and his wacky chair for a return engagement. And it appears the assumed president elect is having a hell of a time lining up musical talent for his inauguration.
The Wrap reports insiders admit that Team Trump is offering obscene amounts of money to secure A-list acts, like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars. “Name your price,” was the offer, with fat fees promised to whichever recruiter snagged top talent. And yet they struggle to get big names to play Trump City.
Some acts have reportedly signed on, though an insider declined to say who. We know it’s not Elton John. When Trump’s transitional team promised the pop icon’s appearance early on, John’s people where quick to shoot that down: “He will NOT be performing.”
Trump’s team issued a denial to TheWrap.
And another insider insists that “I’ve never heard of talent being compensated. Nor have I heard of talent recruiters being compensated.” Yet The Wrap is quick to point out the Trump Team has already broken from the norms of his predecessors.
So who might be singing in DC on January 20th? Performers with ties to the Republican Party. Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, Lee Greenwood and Garth Brooks have reportedly been asked. But none of the above would confirm this.
But this goes beyond party lines.
One of the insiders who spoke to TheWrap, a talent manager, said he doubts there are too many high-caliber performers “who will agree to normalize and service some of the hate groups that have supported Trump,” because they run the risk of intense backlash.
I’m just going to say the other thing The Wrap report declined to: Maybe many artists find it not just financially threatening, but morally wrong to celebrate the election of a president who courted and stoked bigotry throughout his campaign. Perhaps performing on that stage would hurt their reputations or their bankroll. But also, maybe these musicians want to be able to look on such a performance—a presidential inauguration—with pride, and not that nagging feeling that you’ve stepped to the wrong side of history.
Kristy Puchko can’t even sometimes.