Chicken-Fried News: Keith to the kingdom 

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It looks like this year’s presidential inauguration will be coming to Americans courtesy of Toby Keith’s “Red, White and Blue.”

The organizing committee for President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural ceremony announced on its official social media platforms Jan. 13 that the Oklahoma-born country music star and Norman resident will headline Thursday’s inaugural concert alongside acts like Southern rock band 3 Doors Down.

It’s fitting that Oklahoma has some representation in the upcoming inauguration festivities. In the 2016 presidential election, every state county went red for Trump.

Still, the commitment from Keith specifically is a little surprising. The country music star has voiced at least some support for President Barack Obama at various times in the past. In 2009, Keith performed in Oslo, Norway, in a concert before Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yet Keith was also a featured performer at a private sponsor party at 2016’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. In a Q&A by Chicago Tribune before the announcement of Keith’s inaugural performance, the self-described “registered Independent” said he was not backing anyone for president in 2016 and that he played the private RNC gig because they paid him “a buttload of money.”

In an August interview with, Keith said he previously has supported presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well.

The singer released a public statement defending his inauguration booking shortly after the news became public. He repeated his support for past administrations.

“I don’t apologize for performing for our country or military,” he said. “I performed at events for previous presidents Bush and Obama and over 200 shows in Iraq and Afghanistan for the USO (United Service Organizations).”

With this performance at Trump’s inauguration festivities, it looks as if Keith is willing to give a fair chance to anyone who takes up White House residency.

Print headline: Keith to the kingdom

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