Singers Jackie Evancho, Lee Greenwood and other artists say it’s an honor to perform at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, despite facing a barrage of backlash and personal insults for agreeing to perform.
Greenwood, who performed his hit song, “God Bless the U.S.A.,” said he feels “sorry” for entertainers who turned down invitations to perform at Trump’s inauguration.
“I feel sorry for them that they’re not going to be here to watch one of the most famous inaugurations of all time,” the country music star told CNN, echoing his earlier comments criticizing other artists who gave into public pressure.
“If you’re an artist, entertainer, writer or singer and you’re on stage, you’ve been given a great gift. For [other artists] to stick their head in the sand and say, ‘we’re not going to be involved in this or want to see it,’ that’s just rude … I can only just feel bad for them,” said Greenwood, who’s performed at three previous inaugurations.
Jackie Evancho, the teenage classical singer, said her family became a “big target” that received “a lot of hate” after she accepted an invitation to sing the National Anthem at Trump’s inauguration.
“[Fans] are upset for the wrong reasons. I’m not involved in politics,” Evancho told CNN. “I’m doing this because it’s a privilege and an honor to perform for my country … it’s sad.”
Pianist Jon Schimdt, who performed at the Make America Great Again! welcome concert on Thursday night, said the historic event is about unity and not division.
“Now is a time to unite. That’s what we need to do right now,” Schimdt said. “We feel very strongly about that.”
Before the inaugural ceremonies began Thursday, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soul singer Sam Moore — who sang an emotional rendition of “America the Beautiful” at the welcome concert — also fired back at critics who disparaged him for agreeing to perform.
“I am not going to let them, the left side, intimidate me from doing what I feel is the right thing to do for the country and that [presidential] seal,” Moore said of his detractors, according to the Associated Press. “Give the man a shot. He hasn’t even said ‘I do’ yet. Give him a chance. If you don’t like him after four years, then don’t vote for him next time.”
R&B and soul singer-songwriter Chrisette Michele has been blacklisted by film director Spike Lee over her decision to sing at Trump’s inauguration.
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