Ordinarily, performing at a Presidential inauguration brings the kind of career boosting public exposure that a musician salivates over. And if you’re someone like Garth Brooks, who is still popular but whose commercial peak came twenty years ago, it’s a golden opportunity for boosting album and concert sales. And it appears that for a moment, Brooks was tempted to say yes to the invitation to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration. But to his immense credit, he’s turning it down.
The temptation for Garth Brooks must have been tremendous. Sure, he’d have faced some pushback over it and might have lost some fans along the way. But he’s a country musician, and despite his crossover appeal, the largest chunks of his audience are – demographically speaking – Donald Trump supporters to begin with. He just launched a career spanning box set called The Ultimate Collection last month, which Billboard says is off to a strong start, and a stately high profile television appearance could have done wonders for sales.
Additionally, according to entertainment publication The Wrap, the Trump campaign has been offering everything from cash to ambassador positions in the name of trying to land A-list performers for the inauguration – meaning that Brooks could have likely scored ongoing favors from the Trump administration simply by showing up and singing a song or two.
But after initially publicly hinting that he might be willing to perform at Trump’s inauguration, Garth Brooks is now officially turning it down, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Brooks and his camp aren’t offering a reason, but it seems obvious enough: even though much of his audience may believe in what Trump is selling, he does not.
Garth Brooks is the rare country artist with openly liberal political leanings, and he’s been expressing them in his music ever since he first stood up for gay rights back in the nineties. While he never spoke up for or against any candidate in this election, it’s incredibly unlikely that he supported Donald Trump or any other Republican candidate. And so Brooks appears to be simply doing what he thinks is right, rather than doing what he thinks is right for his career. That’s the kind of patriotism we should all aspire to.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report