Country music veteran Lee Greenwood gave a stirring rendition of his signature and self-penned hit "God Bless the USA" at a concert to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon (Jan. 19). Greenwood and Toby Keith were two of the acts on the bill for Trump's Make America Great Again.
Welcome Celebration, which is just one of a slate of events scheduled for the weekend to celebrate his swearing in as the 45th President of the United States. Greenwood's performance actually marked the fourth time Greenwood has performed at a Presidential inauguration; he previously performed during Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush's ceremonies.
Greenwood says he doesn't understand the controversy that swirled around the event. One of the stars who was initially announced, Jennifer Holliday, ended up canceling her appearance after a huge online firestorm ensued.
"I think that's a mistake," Greenwood tells the Hollywood Reporter. "And, I think, sadly, that she would buckle under that kind of minority approach. Because it probably is. The nation spoke resoundingly to elect this president. For her to buckle under, to social media, again, she's thinking that's going to make an impact on her career. And it certainly won't."
"You're going to sing for the president, my gosh," he marvels. "I didn't work the campaign, she didn't work the campaign. This is basically an invitation to go to Washington, D.C., and be a part of this celebration. I'm sorry she made that choice. It doesn't influence what I do or, I think, many of the other performers who will be there."