Lee Greenwood: ‘I Feel Sorry’ for Artists Turning Down Inauguration Invitations
Lee Greenwood is used to singing for America's leaders: The “God Bless the USA" singer has performed for five sitting presidents (Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush) and at three presidential inaugurations, and he is scheduled to perform at the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration on Thursday (Jan. 19), one day ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. In advance of the event, Greenwood has some advice for his fellow performers, and some thoughts about the critics.
“[I would advise inauguration performers to] live the moment ... It will be a moment that they just have to bathe in," Greenwood tells Variety, adding, "[R]emember what you have to do — and do it with eloquence.”
Greenwood will, of course, be performing "God Bless the USA" at the Welcome Celebration; he is "thrilled" to do so, and "had no trouble" with President-elect Trump using the song during his campaign. In fact, Greenwood says that he believes the numerous artists who have declined to be part of Trump’s inauguration festivities will "regret not going in the future."
"You don’t get this invitation very often," he notes, later adding, "I feel sorry for people who would turn down this invitation."
Greenwood continues, “You need to support [Trump] and all the things he plans to do for America, and not bow down to what is said on social media and gossip ... I live here in a rural community in Nashville, and I frequent a lot of local places ... No one comes up to me and says, ‘Why are you going? Why are you singing for the president?'”
On Wednesday night (Jan. 18), Greenwood will be performing at an event for Vice President-elect Mike Pence as well. Toby Keith and, collectively, Tim Rushlow (formerly of Little Texas), Lonestar‘s Richie McDonald and Restless Heart‘s Larry Stewart will also be performing at the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration.
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