It was announced on Monday, January 18 that country superstar Garth Brooks will be performing for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, January 20 after having to turn down the chance to play at President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017. Here’s what he said about Biden’s inauguration and why Brooks had to decline four years ago.
Brooks Says It’s About Unity
In a news conference on January 18 (via USA Today) Brooks said that the president-elect is promoting unity and that’s a message Brooks can get behind.
“The message they’re pushing is unity, and that’s right down my alley, man,” Brooks said. “If we’re gonna get anywhere, we’re gonna get there together. … This is not a political statement. This is a statement of unity.
This is the second presidential inauguration that included Brooks as a performer. In 2009, he performed at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. He was part of the “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial,” performing a medley of “American Pie” by Don McLean, “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, and “We Shall Be Free” by Brooks himself.
Brooks Turned Down Trump’s Inauguration Due to Scheduling Conflicts
In 2017, Brooks was asked to play President Donald Trump’s inauguration but he had to decline due to scheduling conflicts.
During a live video from Studio G, several commenters were asking about Brooks playing the inauguration because TMZ had gotten him on camera saying that it would be an honor to serve. Brooks clarified that when TMZ asked him that, he hadn’t yet been asked to perform for Trump’s inauguration, but if he was, “it’s always an honor to serve.”
Then when former Republican National Committee chairman and businessman Steve Wynn took over running point on the inauguration, he approached Brooks and they had to leave it up in the air because of Brooks’ tour at the time. From September 2014 to December 2017, Brooks was headlining his “Garth Brooks World Tour,” which was started in conjunction with his 2014 Man Against Machine album and continued through the release of his 2016 album Gunslinger.
“[Wynn and I] sat down and talked about it and we left it up to karma. We said, ‘If Cincinnati goes two weekends instead of one, then, of course, we’re out.’ Sure enough, Cincinnati did five shows, two weekends, and backed us up into there. So we got knocked out of [the inauguration],” explained Brooks.
But he went on to say that he has nothing but love and prayers for any president.
“I’m going to tell you with this whole presidential thing — we got one going out, I pray for him and his family. And for the president going in, I pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let’s stay together. Love. Unity. That’s what it’s all about,” said Brooks.
He continued, “In the immortal words of Martin Luther King, the most durable power that we have known is love. It will always be that. Again, I can’t thank the Obamas enough for serving this country, and may God hold Trump’s hand in the decisions that he makes in this country’s name as well. Always an honor to serve, always.”
Many Trump Supporters Are Not Happy With Brooks
Many Trump supporters took to social media to express their disappointment and outrage that Brooks turned down the chance to perform at Trump’s inaugration and has performed at both Obama’s and Biden’s.
Students for Trump founder and co-chairman Ryan Fournier wrote, “Garth Brooks says he will perform at Joe Biden’s Inauguration. ‘This is not a political statement. This is a statement of unity.’ That’s a lie. You made excuses to not perform at Trump’s,” to which a woman responded, “Yes, but Toby Keith performed at Trump’s and he’s the best! I would choose Toby Keith over Garth Brooks every day of the week!”
Another woman wrote, “Typical celebrity. What a disappointment he lost his backbone.”
Another added, “I would respect this decision if @garthbrooks had performed at President Trump’s inauguration. Since he refused, I can only consider this to be a political statement.”
One woman wrote, “Garth Brooks is a country fried a**hole covered in s*** gravy!” with a middle finger emoji.
The 2021 inauguration of President Joe Biden will start at noon ET on Wednesday, January 20 in Washington DC.