The news that Tom Hanks, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and other A-listers will star in a TV special celebrating Joe Biden’s inauguration inevitably leads to memories of Donald Trump trying but failing to secure top talent for his inaugural festivities four years ago.
President Donald Trump reaches out to embrace son Barron Trump as First Lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump look on after his inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Elton John emphatically said he would not perform at the inauguration after a member of Trump’s transition team announced he would, Vulture reported in 2017. Kiss frontman Gene Simmons “politely declined,” Garth Brooks and Celine Dion couldn’t fit a show for Trump’s big day into their schedules, and Jennifer Holliday backed out after initially saying yes, apologizing to the LGBTQ community for agreeing to sing at an event celebrating the divisive new president.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment came when Trump’s friend, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, also backed out, 35 days before the big day. Event planner Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was in a meeting with Trump when the opera superstar said his family had received death threats.
“It was a huge blow to Donald,” Winston Wolkoff wrote in her 2020 book “Melania and Me,” which details her work on the inauguration at the behest of her ex-best friend, first lady Melania Trump. The book also details the desperate and haphazard efforts to hire a headlining singer for “The Star Spangled Banner” and other artists to perform at different pre- and post-inauguration parties.
If Trump was hurt that Bocelli turned him down, he had Ivanka Trump to console him, according to Winston Wolkoff. His beloved oldest daughter joined the meeting and acted unconcerned by the news that the Presidential Inaugural Committee had failed to secure a top performer.
“My father is the biggest celebrity!” Ivanka Trump said brightly, Winston Wolkoff wrote. Her father smiled at her.
The reality TV star-turned politician also got excited when he talked about not wanting floats for his parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. “I want tanks and choppers. Make it look like North Korea,” he said.
Winston Wolkoff added: “When Ivanka heard North Korea, she didn’t bat an eye.”
In the years since Trump’s January 2017 inauguration, the ceremony, related festivities and planning have been mired in scandal. The Washington, D.C., Attorney General is investigating spending by the inaugural committee, specifically whether President Trump and his family benefitted financially by events being booked at his Trump International Hotel.
Winston Wolkoff’s friendship with Melania Trump collapsed after she said the first lady went along with the Trump family’s strategy of trying to make her a scapegoat in the investigation. Winston Wolkoff has since become one of the government’s key witnesses.
Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner dance at the Freedom Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. President Trump was sworn today as the 45th U.S. President. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
When Winston …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment