The Bizarre Reason Why Trump Didn't Ask Kanye to Perform at His Inauguration

January 19th 2017

Almie Rose

Though President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration events have been mocked for lacking star power, there's one big name he could have had — but chose not to ask.

"Typically and Traditionally American"

In December, Kanye West met with the next president at Trump Tower in New York City. "We've been friends for a long time," Trump explained. So why didn't he ask him to perform? The Trump team's explanation: that it's not the right venue for the rapper. 

Despite a lack of A-list talent, Tom Barrack, chair of Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee, told CNN that Kanye wasn't considered.

"We haven't asked him," Barrack said. "He considers himself a friend of the President-elect, but it's not the venue. The venue we have for entertainment is filled out, it's perfect, it's going to be typically and traditionally American, and Kanye is a great guy but we just haven't asked him to perform. We move on with our agenda."

People are not buying the explanation.

This was evidenced on social media, where users responded with disbelief to a tweet from The New York Daily News announcing "Kanye was not invited to perform because Trump's inauguration will be a 'typically and traditionally American' event":

Kanye was born in Atlanta, Georgia, so his status as an American is not in dispute.

Who was invited to perform at the inauguration reveals who Trump's camp sees as "traditionally American."

On Thursday, country singer Toby Keith and rock band 3 Doors Down will perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to The New York Times. The members of 3 Doors Down come from Escatawpa, Mississippi.


A photo posted by 3doorsdown (@3doorsdown) on

On Friday, "America's Got Talent" runner-up Jackie Evancho will sing the National Anthem. Evancho does not see her performing as a political issue, saying, "I just kind of thought that this is for my country. So if people are going to hate on me it’s for the wrong reason," The New York Times reported.

There will also be performances by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The New York City Rockettes, though members of both aren't all thrilled about it. One of the Choir members quit, and one of the Rockettes told Marie Claire under a pseudonym that many of the dancers were unhappy about performing, telling the magazine, "If I had to lose my job over this, I would."


A photo posted by Rockettes (@therockettes) on

Some performers, like Jennifer Holliday, have pulled out after intense scrutiny. "I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgment," Holliday told her fans on The Wrap.

The backlash continues

Chrisette Michele, a soul singer, will be performing despite the backlash she's received. She explains why in an open letter on Twitter:

The response has not been kind:

As for Kanye, perhaps his situation can best be summed up by D.J. Khaled: "Congratulations, you played yourself."