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Toby Keith Is ‘Stronger’ After Trump Inauguration Backlash

Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Toby Keith continues to defend his decision to perform at an inauguration event for President Donald Trump in January 2017.

Along with Lee Greenwood, Keith headlined the pre-inauguration concert Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration on Jan. 19 in Washington, D.C., and has been receiving criticism for his decision ever since. During the 2017 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Keith spoke openly about accepting the invitation in spite of the backlash.

“There’s no reason not to do it,” the singer states (quote via the Boot). “I know a bunch of people were committed. I know a bunch of people — I’m not naming names — but there’s a bunch of people that I didn’t think would have considered it who were committed, and they backed out due to pressure.”

Country Stars Sound off About 2016 Election

Despite the criticism, Keith reveals that he also received support for his decision and feels he made the right decision by not backing down.

“In the end, it just makes you stronger,” Keith says. “If you don’t succumb to that kind of pressure, you’ll always come out stronger: Your fans will love you more, your friends will love you more, and at the end of the day, you just get another notch on your gun belt.”

He also received flack in 2009 when he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway, for then-President Barack Obama, saying it was reported in the foreign press that a member of Parliament “deemed it improper” for the singer to be at the ceremony.

The country star is an avid supporter of the military and says that he agreed to appear at the 2017 inauguration event to honor the troops. “At the end of the day, I was asked to perform the military part of the show at [Trump’s] inauguration. It’s a weaker stance if you back out. A lot of people did. I shouldn’t have to. This is our country,” Keith says. “We’re so divided. If you allow that to happen, and you succumb to that pressure, then it divides us and keeps incapacitating us.”

See the Stars Who Performed at Inauguration Concerts

Next: Most Political Country Singers

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