Speed Reads

Trump Transition

Donald Trump denies offering ambassadorships for A-list singers at his inauguration

Apparently not satisfied with Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, and 16-year-old America's Got Talent star Jackie Evancho, President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly struggling to procure top performers for his inauguration, much less high school marching bands. (Evancho is the only singer confirmed for the inauguration so far.) Trump is so eager to get A-listers to sing at his inaugural events that his inaugural committee has offered cash, government positions, even ambassadorships to several talent bookers who can secure top stars for his big day, two bookers tell The Wrap.

"Never in a million years have I heard something so crazy," one booker said. "My first thought was, 'Are you joking?'" he said after Trump's inaugural committee offered him an ambassadorship. "But no, it was serious." The second talent manager said he was also offered an ambassadorship and he knew two other people offered similar deals. "They said they were in the process of 'figuring out posts, ambassadorships, and commissions' if that was of any interest," he explained to The Wrap.

Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee denied the report. "There is no truth to this insinuation," committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn, a longtime Trump insider, told The Wrap. "First-class entertainers are eager to participate in the inaugural events. The inauguration as a whole will be an exciting and uniting celebration of freedom and democracy." And it does seem odd that a man who can draw Kanye West into a public bro hug can't land someone famous for a high-profile singing gig. We'll see Jan. 20, 2017.

Trump has his eye on performers like Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and Aretha Franklin, and he's willing to pay big fees to get them to perform, industry insiders tell The Wrap. Paying performers and recruiters for a typically prestigious inaugural performance is very unusual, according to a veteran inaugural organizer, and the open-government Sunlight Foundation found the idea or offering government positions abhorrent and "alarming."