Country music singer Lee Greenwood says the entertainers who backed out of performing at Donald Trump’s inauguration have made a “mistake.”
“I think that’s a mistake. And, I think, sadly, that she [Jennifer Holliday] would buckle under that kind of minority approach. Because it probably is,” Greenwood told The Hollywood Reporter, citing the Broadway singer’s decision to back out of performing at an inauguration event, calling it a “lapse in judgement.”
“The nation spoke resoundingly to elect this president,” said Greenwood, who has previously performed at the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush. “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.”
The “God Bless the U.S.A.” singer says artists should welcome the chance to perform for the president.
“You’re going to sing for the president, my gosh,” Greenwood said. “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.”
Greenwood is scheduled to perform Thursday night at the “Make America Great Again: Welcome Celebration” pre-inaugural concert, as well as at a dinner for vice president-elect Mike Pence.
“It’s not just about the Trump event, it’s about the change of power in D.C.,” he added. “This is our fourth inauguration, I think whenever you’re asked to do a Congressional appearance, I think it’s in bad taste to say, ‘No.'”
The 74-year-old country star’s comments come a month after world-renowned opera singer Andrea Bocelli backed out of singing at an inaugural ceremony after facing fierce backlash.
But Greenwood insists that politics should play no part in an artist’s decision to perform at a presidential inauguration.
“It’s not political,” he said. “I consider it a great honor and prestige of being able to sing the song I wrote in 1983 at the Lincoln Memorial. It will be a wonderful moment for my career but also for the citizens who will be watching it on television worldwide.”
“We have a new president-elect, and we’re going to support him,” he added.
Other performers slated for the pre-inauguration concert include country artist Toby Keith and the rock band 3 Doors Down. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Radio City Rockettes and teenage classical singer Jackie Evancho will also perform at the inauguration.