“They are willing to pay anything,” a source told the Wrap, adding the Presidential Inaugural Committee has even offered to dole out fees “in the six to seven figures.”
Trump may be hoping to top President Barack Obama’s star-studded 2009 inauguration; then president-elect Obama held an inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18, complete with the musical stylings of Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, John Legend, Garth Brooks, U2, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Shakira, will.i.am, Sheryl Crow and Beyonce, among others. Entertainers including Steve Carell, Jack Black, Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx read historical passages during the event. For Obama’s official inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, Aretha Franklin sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”
Boris Ephsteyn, a spokesman for the Trump transition team, denied the president-elect is hoping for a high-caliber celebrity to serenade him on his inauguration night.
“We are focused on organizing an exciting and uniting celebration of freedom and democracy while following all rules, regulations and appropriate standards of conduct,” Ephsteyn told the Wrap.
Musicians Lee Greenwood and Garth Brooks are reportedly already speaking with transition officials, but a source told the Wrap Trump’s team hopes “to do better than Kid Rock and Ted Nugent,” two performers who supported Trump’s campaign. The source also suggested aides are looking for high-profile performers “like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars.”
Timberlake, along with wife Jessica Biel, were active supporters of Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton during the campaign, attending a fundraiser for the Democratic candidate in August. As for Mars, a website reported in November that there is a “total lack of information regarding [his] religion and political beliefs.”
Trump himself knocked Clinton’s star-studded endorsements during a rally in November, saying her inclusion of celebrities at events is “like a form of cheating.”
“We can get stars,” Trump told a crowd of supporters just before his election. “We don’t need them.”
Now, it looks like the president-elect has the opportunity to put his money where his mouth is. And that could require a whole lot of money.