Donald Trump has decided to throw out 60 years’ worth of tradition for his inauguration by replacing the man who’s done the announcing for presidential inaugurations since Eisenhower’s in 1957, Charlie Brotman. That might not seem like a big deal, but given that his voice is so familiar for this, it’s hard to understand why they would make such a move.
And it’s not like it’s a relief for Brotman; he’s heartbroken about it. He had already started preparing for his role in the ceremonies, saying he was told he wouldn’t be involved in an email. “At first…I was destroyed,” he said, according to D.C.’s ABC affiliate, WJLA. “I’ve been doing this for 60 years.”
That’s eleven inaugurations for which he’s worked. At 89, he might be old, but he’s still healthy and apparently still perfectly able to do this, given that he was already preparing.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee issued a statement that said:
“Since 1957, millions of Americans and countless entertainers have come to recognize Charlie Brotman as the voice of the inaugural parade. The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be proud to honor Charlie as Announcer Chairman Emeritus on January 20th. We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade.”
That’s not the same as having him actually do it, and he’s weighing whether to even accept that, or the VIP seat he’s been offered. This is something that would be more appropriate had Brotman said he was retiring, or was otherwise unable to do it again.
Steve Ray is a freelance announcer who has done a lot of work, including promotional spots for the Washington Nationals, but one fishy point about this is that he helped with for Trump’s campaign.
Trump has been working hard to grant favors to people who worked on his campaign, giving many of them high positions within his transition team. Did he tell the inauguration committee to find someone who had worked for him? Did he tell them that he knew Ray and that Ray should do the announcing?
Brotman believes it’s more likely ageism at work:
“Maybe they’re afraid I might drop dead at the mic.”
Right now, nobody’s really explaining this decision. Regardless, unlike Trump, who’s petty and childish as all fuck and would scream about betrayal on Twitter while wishing for his replacement to fall flat on their face, Brotman wishes Ray no ill-will. In fact, he’s flat said that he wants Ray to “do spectacular,” and that he wishes Ray luck in this.
Featured image by Ethan Miller via Getty Images