Toby Keith Defends His Decision to Perform at Donald Trump’s Inauguration: ‘I Don’t Apologize’


He’ll be there! Toby Keith defended his decision to perform at President-elect Donald Trump‘s inauguration amid backlash.

“I don’t apologize for performing for our country or military,” the country singer, 55, said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly on Friday, January 13. “I performed at events for previous presidents [George W.] Bush and [Barack] Obama and over 200 shows in Iraq and Afghanistan for the USO.”

Trump’s inaugural committee announced on Friday that Keith, rock band 3 Doors Down and country singer Lee Greenwood (who wrote “God Bless the USA”) were set to headline a concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, January 19, the day before the president-elect’s official inauguration.

Keith, Trump
Toby Keith performs during the 2016 American Country Countdown Awards at the Forum on May 1, 2016, in Inglewood, CA; Donald Trump answers questions from the media during transition team meetings at Mar-a-Lago Club on Dec. 28, 2016, in Palm Beach, FL. Lester Cohen/Getty Images; Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The concert, which is titled “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration,” will also feature performances from the Piano Guys and the Frontmen of Country. Actor Jon Voight, who is Angelina Jolie‘s father, is scheduled to make an appearance at the event.

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday was also announced as one of the scheduled performers, but she pulled out on Saturday, January 14, and apologized to the LGBT community in an open letter published by The Wrap. “Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” she wrote.

“I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgment, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans,” Holliday, 56, continued. “The LGBT community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you.”

In recent weeks, a number of A-list musicians declined invitations to attend the inauguration, including Céline Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Garth Brooks. By contrast, President Obama’s first and second inaugurations included performances by Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

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