Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow was introduced by President Trump as, “in the world of music [he] is big stuff.” But many other key players in the battle to pass the Music Modernization Act had been invited and then uninvited to Thursday’s ceremony at the White House, according to multiple sources.
Reasons for the disinvitations were not disclosed, but President Trump is known to use White House invitations as a way to reward loyalty, as well as, to punish any past criticism.
The Executive Office of the President’s Office of Public Liaison sent invitations to cleared guests on Wednesday, according to Billboard. But two hours before the signing, many were sent this email:
“We regret to inform you that due to changes in the President’s schedule and the current storm in the southern United States, we will be limiting public participation in today’s event and we will no longer be able to host you at the White House, today October 11. We are terribly sorry for this unplanned change and any inconvenience this may cause.”
Reportedly invited then shunned were RIAA President Mitch Glazier, SoundExchange President/CEO Michael Huppe and MUSICFirst Executive Director Chris Israel. ASCAP President Paul Williams and BMI Senior VP Ann Sweeney, according to Billboard. Other key players whose names were submitted to attend were never cleared to attend by the White House.
Most of the artists in the room including Kid Rock, John Rich of Big and Rich and Beach Boy Mike Love were known Trump supporters.
Also missing were any women representing the music industry or female songwriters. Other than staff, the only women present for the historic signing was Senator Shelley Moore Capito.