Donald Trump knew exactly how he wanted his 2017 inauguration to go. However, the performers he requested didn’t want anything to do with him.
According to the new book Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump’s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington, by reporters Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, Trump wanted Aretha Franklin to sing but “no amount of money” would convince her.
“In the days after election night, President-elect Trump ordered Tom Barrack, his longtime confidant who was chairing the Presidential Inaugural Committee, to reach out to the music icon or her people to see if she would sing at his inaugural concert,” the book reads. “Trump, who knew Franklin leaned liberal and had sung for Obama, had for years claimed the legendary soul artist was his dear ‘friend’ and desired it to be pitched to her as a chance to bridge the ideological chasm and to help heal the country following an emotional, unsparing general election.”
It adds, “What Franklin never got the chance to tell Trump to his face is that around the time she had learned of Team Trump’s overtures, she privately stressed to friends that ‘no amount of money’ could make the singer, a committed Hillary Clinton supporter, perform at a Trump inauguration. More bluntly, in the year and a half before she passed away, Aretha Franklin would repeatedly call Donald Trump ‘despicable’ and, even more pointedly, a huge ‘piece of s**t.’ “
Franklin died on Aug. 16, 2018.
Upon her death, Trump claimed that the singer “worked for [him] on numerous occasions.”
A number of Franklin’s friends, including Rev. Al Sharpton, spoke out against his claims.
“When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, ‘She used to work for me,’ ” he said at Franklin’s funeral. “No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.”