With his inauguration fast approaching, President Elect Donald Trump has rescinded one of the few artists willing to perform.
Last week, it was revealed that opera singer Andrea Bocelli and America’s Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho had been booked to perform.
However, in a new interview with CNBC, Republican, friend of Trump and chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee Thomas J. Barrack Jr has said that Trump did not ask the opera veteran to sing, and has in fact turned his offer down.
“Bocelli and his wife … have been friends of Trump since the very beginning,” said Barrack. “[But] Donald said, ‘You don’t need to. We’re not in that kind of a framework. Thanks very much for the offer. You’re my friend. You are always welcome at the White House’.”
Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that Bocelli was considering pulling out after he received a sharp and angry backlash on social media. Bocelli is yet to respond to the claims.
There have also been allegations that Trump’s administration has been attempting to bribe performers into appearing at his inauguration. Trump’s camp have denied the claims. The Wrap reports that talent bookers were offered ambassadorships and “access to the administration” in exchange for their clients performing at the event.
“Never in a million years have I heard something so crazy,” one talent booker said. “That was the moment I almost dropped the phone.”
There were also rumours that Kanye West may have been approached after the pair met earlier this month, however West later explained his actions by saying it was simply to ‘discuss multicultural issues’
Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 saw Aretha Franklin perform, while Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson sang at his second inauguration in 2013.