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Despite Showman Reputation, Trump Fails To Book A-Listers For Inauguration

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Despite Showman Reputation, Trump Fails To Book A-Listers For Inauguration


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump made his name with opulent hotels and a dramatic reality TV show, but his inauguration on Friday as the 45th U.S. president is shaping up as a more understated affair, with big names in entertainment staying away.

Like those who came before him, Trump will take his oath on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building and lead a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, but there will be fewer official balls and less glitz and celebrity talent to welcome in the new president.

Inaugurations have been star-studded affairs since 1941, when President Franklin Roosevelt held a gala with actors Charlie Chaplin, Mickey Rooney and other stars of the era, said Jim Bendat, a historian who has written a book on U.S. inaugurations.

But this year, several singers – including Elton John and Charlotte Church – declined invitations to perform at inaugural events. Trump, a New York businessman and former star of “The Apprentice” TV show, won with a populist platform that included promises to build a wall along the Mexican border, restrict immigration from Muslim countries and dismantle Obamacare.

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday said yes to performing, but backed down after a backlash from fans.

“You can’t really find precedent for that,” Bendat said in an interview.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, singer Jackie Evancho and the Rockettes dancing troupe are among those slated to perform, although individual Rockettes will be allowed to opt out of performing if they so choose.

Trump’s inaugural committee has said it is intentionally avoiding top entertainers.

“We’re fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect,” Tom Barrack, inaugural committee chairman, told reporters at Trump Tower in New York last week.

“So what we’ve done, instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers, is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place,” Barrack said.

Trump is slated to attend three official galas. Other modern inaugurations have had around 10 official balls, which the president and first lady would attend in rapid succession, typically dancing during each appearance.

Then-President Bill Clinton held a record 14 balls during his 1997 inauguration, Bendat said.

On Thursday, a series of choirs and marching bands will perform at the Lincoln Memorial, followed by a concert featuring country music star Toby Keith.

Trump, who is entering office with unusually low approval ratings, has repeatedly pushed back against reports that his inauguration may be lacking in star power or have low attendance.

“People are pouring into Washington in record numbers,” Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday. “Bikers for Trump are on their way. It will be a great Thursday, Friday and Saturday!”

Officials expect about 800,000 spectators for the events – down from the estimated 1.8 million who flocked to Washington for Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

Just 40 percent of Americans said they had a favorable view of Trump versus 55 percent who had an unfavorable view, according to a Gallup poll taken from Jan. 4 to Jan. 8.

At a similar point before he took office in 2009, Obama was viewed favorably by 78 percent of Americans. Before taking office in 2001, President George W. Bush had a 62 percent favorable rating, according to the Gallup data.

“What is most likely to distinguish Trump’s inauguration is the number of protesters,” said Brian Balogh, co-host of American history radio show BackStory.

The National Parks Service has granted permits to protest for 27 groups. On Saturday, the National Mall will draw what organizers estimate will be about 200,000 people to a Women’s March to protest Trump.

The Women’s March, which is expected to be the largest protest, is aimed at bringing attention to human and civil rights issues. Honorary co-chairs of the protest include activist Gloria Steinem and actor Harry Belafonte.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

IMAGE: Preparations are finalized on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, where Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as America’s 45th president, in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2017.  REUTERS/Mike Theiler



  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 17, 2017

    The Inauguration Committee for Trump is avoiding contacting big name entertainers because his lordship would be further embarrassed by further refusals to take part in a predictable debacle of his upcoming coronation as King, and might take it out on them.

    1. FireBaron January 18, 2017

      Either that or Teflon Donnie does not want anyone more popular than he is (which leaves out 80% of the entertainment industry). Hey, maybe he can get Chuck Norris or Clint Eastwood to make a speech, or Bo Derek to dance.

      1. Dan S January 18, 2017

        Bo Derek ? Oh yeah I forgot she went to the darkside. I’m sure in Trumps eyes she’s not overrated like Meryl Streep is ????

  2. Bill Smith 999935 January 17, 2017

    This is a story? Who cares, the A-list is predominantly made of bleeding heart liberals. Not a surprise.

    1. I Am Helpy January 18, 2017

      The chip on your shoulder can be seen from space, nazi traitor dude.

      1. Bill Smith 999935 January 18, 2017

        You are a bleeding heart liberal, but no A-lister.

        1. FireBaron January 18, 2017

          Maybe A Listers are the ones who can pack auditoriums and stadiums, whereas most GOP type performers can barely pack a lounge.

          1. Bill Smith 999935 January 18, 2017

            You do recall the HRC rallies vs. Trumps rallies, do you not?

          2. Zengo January 18, 2017

            you mean the ones where they gave out 10k tix for a 5k capacity space? or the ones where the attendees assaulted people?

          3. Jim Samaras January 18, 2017

            The ones where the paid agitators from the left were there to cause trouble is the one. 5K tickets would be a waste of paper for HRC and her 100 followers at the rallys.

          4. InformedVoter January 19, 2017

            Boy do you have display your low information status for all to see. It was the Dems who paid folks to show up and they still only got a few hundred to show up. It was also the Dems who paid for protesters to interrupt Trump’s rallies. Have you forgotten it was Robert who was forced to resign from HiLIARy’s staff because he admitted he used her campaign fund donations to hire the protesters?
            So HilLIARy had a-listers at her rallies and she drew 400 folks. President Trump had his message at his rallies and he drew thousands. So how many votes did those a-listers get HiLIARy vs. how many votes did Trump’s message get him. Only the dumb Dems would think they won that exchange.

          5. InformedVoter January 19, 2017

            Oh, now I understand why HilLIARy, with the help of a-listers barely got 400 fans to show up and President Trump, with nothing but his message, got thousands to show up. OK, good for the Dems as those a-listers got them zero votes. Meanwhile, the President’s messages got him millions of votes. Gee, I wonder who won that exchange.

        2. Dan S January 18, 2017

          At least Liberals have a heart ❤️ Where’s the compassion and morality of the Right ? When you go before God Almighty come Judgement Day what good works can you show him you did in this life ? Well I went on blog boards trashing the liberals for being goody two shoes and saying they’re no A Listers. Yeah that’ll get you thru those Pearly Gates ????

          1. Bill Smith 999935 January 18, 2017

            No, just double standards.

        3. I Am Helpy January 18, 2017

          I’m sure you imagined that was a cutting remark, somehow.

          1. Bill Smith 999935 January 18, 2017

            See previous post.

          2. I Am Helpy January 18, 2017

            It’s astonishing to me how you dumb bigots always try this.

  3. helen.moyer January 18, 2017

    Analyse following report to understand how an individual mommy was able to make $89,844/year in her free time on her laptop or computer without selling anything>>>
    -> START

  4. FireBaron January 18, 2017

    Teflon Donnie is NOT a showman. PT Barnum was a showman. Teflon Donnie is a self-promoted media junkie looking for attention to himself that gets himself rich. PT Barnum brought America the entertainment they wanted to their towns. Did he get rich? Yep. He also kept himself in the background.

    1. Godzilla January 18, 2017

      He is your next President, so get on your knees and lick his shoes, slave boy.

    2. latebloomingrandma January 18, 2017

      Except that Donnie did learn that meme about a sucker being born every minute.

  5. Godzilla January 18, 2017

    Only Liberal’s would care about such nonsense. Toby Keith and Lee Greenwoodwill be there and they are REAL AMERICANS, unlike most of the “A-List” Communist’s.

    I will once again be proud to be an American, after an 8 year absence. I guess MOOSHELE will go back to being her normal hater self now, since she and her kids are being kicked out of public housing by a white rich guy…..

  6. Dan S January 18, 2017

    I’m sure Trump thinks the polls are rigged. It’s just not possible that he’d be so unpopular after winning in that big landslide he claims he won giving him a mandate to screw people over ????

    1. Godzilla January 18, 2017

      The ABC poll over sampled Democrats by 8 %. As is the norm with the Liberal media, more Communist propaganda that the Liberal minions fall for.

      1. latebloomingrandma January 18, 2017

        That’s ironic. Since the only one palling around with a
        Communist is the President elect himself.

  7. bojimbo26 January 18, 2017

    Goldylocks is just a Petulant Little Boy who has a tantrum if he doesn`t get his way .

  8. The lucky one January 18, 2017

    ““We’re fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect,” So what we’ve done, instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers, is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place,” – Tom Barrack, inaugural committee chairman

    Yes I know what you mean. For my birthday I opted for no ice cream & cake and just surrounded myself with the soft sensuality of Velveeta and stale crackers.

    1. InGen12 January 18, 2017

      “Soft sensuality” – ha, ha, ha!! They are getting pretty creative in defending why Drumpf can’t get one A-lister to show up for him.

      1. Zengo January 18, 2017

        I was scratching my head at their use of those adjectives

  9. latebloomingrandma January 18, 2017

    I think it will be an exhausting job for Trump WH staffers a they try to come up with new and creative ways to spin and excuse and cover for Donnie.

    1. Jim Samaras January 18, 2017

      I’ve felt the same way for years on Josh Earnest for OBummer

    2. InformedVoter January 19, 2017

      The Dems are all about show and nothing about running the country for the good of its citizens. The Dems show their true colors by judging how good a president is by how many actors like him. The Dems are all about show and glitz and totally ignore the working class. Well, good for them. It cost them the election.

  10. Thomas Martin January 18, 2017

    Hell, I think he should give a major 4 hour speech on the evils of communism and why ice is melting in the Arctic.

  11. hermadite January 18, 2017

    Dumpty Trumpty sat on his wall
    Dumpty Trumpty had a great fall
    None of the G.O.P. heard his call
    They just laughed and had a ball.

  12. hermadite January 18, 2017

    January 20, 2017 Washington, D.C.


    (Holding hand over First Lady’s crotch)

    “I do solemnly swear to My Orifice. That I will
    discriminate and insult Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Christians, Africans, Latins and especially Mexicans. As Dictator of the Divided States of America I will, to the best of my ability, persecute, fabricate and eventually destroy the former United States of America. So help me Allah, Moses, Jesus and
    God. Amen.”

    *Eight Herald Trumpet Players Engage In Hand-To-Hand Fighting, Using Their Long Horns As Weapons
    © 2017 irwinleba@gmail.com (212) 714-8298

    1. InformedVoter January 19, 2017

      It’s obvious that you fawn over the false gods of Hollywood. It says volumes about the left that they place any value because an actor likes them. Talk about being shallow. How does some drug addict’s support help govern the country? In fact, since these actors live their lives in a fantasy world, it’s probably better if you didn’t have their support. Most of them barely finished any education anyway.

  13. InformedVoter January 19, 2017

    The Dems show their true colors by judging how good a president is by how many actors like him. The Dems are all about show and glitz and totally ignore the working class. Well, good for them. It cost them the election.


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