The Music of POTUS 45
Though the road to the National Mall was fraught with challenge—many musical acts fell flat as artists publicly refused to perform or dropped out of the lineup following fierce lashback from fans—the inauguration of President Donald Trump came together with the traditional array of marching bands, choirs, and 90s post-grunge rock bands.
President Trump was sworn in flanked by four out of five living former presidents (including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama), and the artists that welcomed him into the nation’s highest office were respectful to the diverse opinions present on stage and remained largely apolitical. Headliners like the Missouri State University Chorale and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir were charged with performing hymns and anthems like “America the Beautiful,” which appeal to the formative values of the United States in a decisively bipartisan way.
3 Doors Down famously played President Trump’s inaugural concert the day before he took office, opting to perform their well-known “Kryptonite.” President Trump spent much of the concert and ensuing inauguration appearing distant and pensive, but in a rare moment of levity, he was seen swaying in his seat and lip syncing lines like, “Will you still call me Superman?”
In an iconic move, Toby Keith rounded out his set at the concert by lifting up a red solo cup after singing, “And we’ll all get smashed at the inaugural celebration!” The intent of such an improvisation was interpreted very differently by Republicans and Democrats.
In the days preceding the inauguration and accompanying concert, President Trump said he was proud of his musical line-up, claiming to have rejected actual A-list performers in favor of Chet Roberts’ mohawk.