Lee Greenwood Says It’s a ‘Mistake’ for Stars to Pull Out of Trump Inauguration
Lee Greenwood is set to perform at the inauguration celebration of President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday (Jan. 19), and he doesn't understand why some other performers are so nervous about potential backlash from the event.
Greenwood's performance will mark the fourth time he's performed for a presidential inauguration, but given the bitter and divisive nature of the rhetoric in the 2016 election cycle, this time around is far more controversial in the eyes of some of Trump's detractors. Rumors swirled that organizers were having a hard time finding acts to perform, and even after the performers were announced, one of the stars announced, Jennifer Holliday, ended up canceling her appearance after a huge online firestorm ensued.
"I think that’s a mistake," Greenwood tells the Hollywood Reporter. "And, I think, sadly, that she would buckle under that kind of minority approach. Because it probably is. The nation spoke resoundingly to elect this president. For her to buckle under, to social media, again, she’s thinking that’s going to make an impact on her career. And it certainly won’t."
He adds that it's "not political," and any time a performer is called upon to perform in support of a president, they ought to. He will also perform at a dinner welcoming Vice President Mike Pence.
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"You’re going to sing for the president, my gosh," he marvels. "I didn’t work the campaign, she didn’t work the campaign. This is basically an invitation to go to Washington, D.C., and be a part of this celebration. I’m sorry she made that choice. It doesn’t influence what I do or, I think, many of the other performers who will be there."
Toby Keith will also be on hand for Trump's Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration, which takes place at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, the day before Donald Trump will be sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20. Former Little Texas vocalist Tim Rushlow, Lonestar singer Richie McDonald and Restless Heart’s Larry Stewart will also perform together at the event as the Frontmen of Country, while Big & Rich and Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox are slated to perform during other functions related to the inauguration.
Garth Brooks turned down the chance to perform, but as he explained in a Facebook chat on Monday (Jan. 1), his decision wasn't motivated by politics. The dates simply conflicted with his touring schedule after he had to add more dates to his run in Cincinnati.
It's probably safe to say we won't be seeing Willie Nelson at the inauguration, either. The 83-year-old country legend recently revealed that he has written a song for his upcoming album titled "Delete and Fast-Forward," which spoofs Trump and the 2016 election with lines including "The elections are over and nobody wins / But don't worry too much, you'll go crazy again / Delete and fast-forward my friend."
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