The inaugural ball is a special moment in every young president’s life. To usher in the following four years, our country’s new (or renewed) leader seek out the world’s greatest artistic talents to create a celebration worthy of the momentous occasion. Beyoncé, John Legend, Alicia Keys, and Stevie Wonder are among the many high profile acts to have performed at Barack Obama’s inaugural balls.
Generally, being requested to perform at the event is a high honor for any musician. However, given Donald Trump‘s general unpopularity with the largely liberal artistic community, it’s unsurprising that the President-elect is having difficulties convincing artists to perform at his forthcoming inaugural ball. The Wrap reports having spoken with two insiders to the festivity’s selection process:
“Both said that Trump inaugural committee members have contacted them in recent days offering cash or even a government appointment if they could deliver marquee names.
‘They are willing to pay anything,’ one of the insiders told TheWrap. “They told me, ‘We’ll pay their fees.’ Most of these artists’ fees are in the six to seven figures.” The insider said the Trump negotiator also offered to pay him for delivering top talent, saying, “’Name your price.’”
While its unclear what an artist such as Elton John — Trump’s first choice for entertainment, who declined the offer — would bring to the table in a government appointment, such a scenario wouldn’t necessarily be more absurd, or generally decried, than Trump’s appointment of former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon as his chief strategist.
Boris Epshteyn, a spokesman for Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee, denied these claims, stating,“No one with any official position at, or official relationship with, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, is engaging in the conduct described.”
Currently, Trump’s team is allegedly in talks with Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and “possibly” Garth Brooks to perform the ball. According to The Wrap‘s inside source, “…the inauguration team is hoping for ‘artists like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars…They’re calling managers, agents, everyone in town to see who they can get, and it’s been problematic.”
Given Trump’s massive financial resources and A-list connections, his team could potentially manage to score an A-lister for the ball in the eleventh hour. However, the sentiment outlined by one of The Wrap‘s sources suggests otherwise:
“I couldn’t do it…Not even for a billion dollars.”
It will be interesting to see how this process plays out, but at the current rate, America may very likely be welcoming its next Commander-in-Chief to this: