Trump Expands Enemies List To Include 89-Year-Old Inauguration Announcer Guy. WEAK! SAD! DICKISH!
Didn't have the right look, probably.
In the long list of horrible things Donald Trump has done in his life -- and Crom knows he's only getting started -- firing Charlie Brotman, who had been the official announcer for every single inaugural parade since Dwight Eisenhower's second term, is far from the worst. Nobody's going to go without food or lose their medical care because of it. Nobody's going to lose a chance at getting out of a Syrian refugee camp. Nobody's going to have justice or the vote denied them.
But it's still a petty, dickish move to pull on an old guy whose wife of 65 years died a few weeks ago, and who had been dealing with his grief by looking forward to this one job that he does every four years. It's only a tradition going back to when America was supposedly great, but Donald Trump has never let tradition or common decency get in his way. So Brotman, 89, got an email last week congratulating him on his being promoted to the ceremonial position of "Announcer Chairman Emeritus," so Team Trump could bring on a new guy, Steve Ray, a DC freelance announcer and Trump supporter, to do the one thing Brotman said had been keeping him going since his wife's death. But, hey, the man's been in broadcasting since the 1940s, and surely he's not such a special snowflake that he thought he deserved the job, did he? Actually, he did, which is the sort of thing you might start thinking when every four years, you get the call to announce the inaugural parade.
"I looked at at my email, then I got the shock of my life," Brotman told CNN's Carol Costello. "I felt like Muhammad Ali had hit me in the stomach."
Brotman, who has been the announcer at presidential inauguration for sixty years, said when he read the email from the Trump transition team he thought he "was going to commit suicide."
Well, maybe Mr. Brotman should have given his job security some thought and volunteered for Trump like Ray did. Said Brotman,
I know that I've been doing it for sixty years, and no one has ever asked whether I'm a Democrat, Republican, Independent, so it's just the ability of the individual announcer. I've been the only announcer that's ever announced the inaugural parade, and so I was taken aback a little bit thinking, 'Gee, how did they get another person?
Small though his role in the parade was, as the announcer for the grandstands where the president-elect sits and watches the rest of the parade, Brotman took his job seriously, telling the Daily Beast's Sandra McElwaine he got to be
"the eyes and ears of the president. He can’t see what’s coming up the parade route. I can and I tell him.”
He also excelled in the roles of kibitzer and entertainer extraordinaire. He became adept at filling up downtime between floats and bands with trivia questions, jokes, and historical tidbits.
When was the first inaugural parade? James Madison 1809, he told the crowd.
During one frigid winter parade, he suggested spectators do the wave. Almost everyone nearby joined in.
Brotman told McElwaine he'd tried to find out from the Presidential Inauguration Committee why they'd canned him, but got the runaround:
Each person he spoke to passed him on to someone else. Each one said they would look into it and call him back. “Everyone seemed very nervous. No one ever answered my question,” he said.
“It’s ageism,” he noted ruefully. “Maybe they’re afraid I might drop dead at the mic,” he speculated.
Yr Wonkette doesn't have any idea whether Team Trump knew of the video, but we wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Brotman's assumptions about who'd be walking down Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20 may have been just enough to win him a place on the Trump Enemies List. Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether Trump had it in for Brotman, or simply didn't give two shits about the 17 previous times Brotman's done the job, making himself a very minor but sweet part of the pageant of democracy. The transition team had their guy, an unambiguous loyalist, so it's out with the old guy, with some nice words in the email about how Brotman is "a Washington Institution and a National Treasure." But a disposable one.
One small consolation: After getting the unceremonious boot from the Agents of the New Cruelty, Mr. Brotman has found out exactly how many folks in Washington actually appreciate what he brought to the parades:
Print, digital, radio and TV stations are vying for interviews and clamoring for his attention.
“I have a whole bunch of opportunities,” he says, his voice brightening noticeably. “Lots of offers, but I haven’t accepted anything yet. I’m an ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation. Watch out world—I may become a star; a real commercial success.”
Mr. Brotman seemed to be in a far better mood by the time he appeared Monday on MSNBC's "The Last Word," guest-hosted by Joy Reed. He blew her kisses.
If the Trump campaign has any sense of shame, they'll give Mr. Brotman his volunteer job back. Eh, who are we kidding? He'll be lucky if the president-elect manages not to Tweet that he's an over-rated has-been who was never all that good at announcing anyway, and was clearly in the tank for Hillary. Also, a tip to Mr. Brotman: Don't bother even opening any emails from senders with "deplorable" or "Pepe" in the username.
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