Toby Keith said that he will not step down from performing at Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Thursday despite the backlash that he has been receiving.
Keith said this to Entertainment Weekly, “I don’t apologize for performing for our country or military. I performed at events for previous presidents Bush and Obama and over 200 shows in Iraq and Afghanistan for the USO.”
Toby will be performing at the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” on Friday. The ceremony will take place at the Lincoln Memorial Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern and will also include rock group 3 Doors Down and country singer Lee Greenwood.
Keith is a native Oklahoman and was named the Country Music Association’s male vocalist of the year in 2001 and garnered the music video of the year in 2012. He has recorded more than 20 No. 1 country music hits spanning his 20-plus-year career.
Singer and actress Jennifer Holliday, who was also confirmed as one of the performers in Trump’s celebration concert, withdrew during the weekend.
Holliday wrote an open letter on Saturday: “I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country.”
She added, “Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.” The artist conveyed that she basically did not want to offend her fans in the LGBT community.
“I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgment,” Holliday stated.
Other performers who allegedly rejected the honor to perform at the concert include: Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Celine Dion, Kanye West, Garth Brooks, and Charlotte Church.
In addition to Keith, Greenwood and 3 Doors Down, among the artists at the inaugural ceremony will be Piano Guys, DJ Ravidrums and the Frontmen of Country (featuring Tim Rushlow of Little Texas, Larry Stewart of Restless Heart and Richie McDonald of Lonestar).
Jon Voight will make attend the event as well, as will the president-elect and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
“President-elect Trump has made it clear that this inaugural is of, by, and for the American people. The 58th Inaugural will celebrate American history and heritage, while setting the course to a brighter and bolder future for all Americans,” Tom Barrack, the head of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, explained in a statement. “Above all, it will serve as tribute to one of our greatest attributes, the peaceful transition of partisan power.”
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