Garth Brooks to play at Biden swearing-in ceremony

Country music star Garth Brooks will perform at President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., later this week.

Brooks announced that he agreed to perform at the inauguration during a press call organized by the Presidential Inaugural Committee on Monday. He said that incoming first lady Jill BidenJill BidenWhite House holiday decorations available for 360 tour via Google Street View The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE called and asked him to play at the inauguration and that he made the decision to do so over the weekend.

Brooks repeatedly commended the message of unity that Biden has emphasized as he prepares to take office and said that it was an honor to serve his country by playing at the ceremony.

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“This is not a political statement,” Brooks told reporters. “This is a statement of unity.”

Brooks, who would not reveal which songs he intends to play, will join Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez in performing at the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Gaga, who campaigned for Biden on the eve of the Nov. 3 election, will perform the national anthem.

Brooks and the other performers will take part in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20 that has been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. There will also be a substantial amount of security for the inauguration, given the increased threats and security concerns following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. 

Brooks told reporters he won’t be affected by the much smaller crowd size, but said he has missed playing for crowds during the pandemic.

“If it’s just me and a zoom lens right here, I see them, I see their faces because I have seen them,” Brooks said.

This will be Brooks's second time playing an inaugural ceremony after playing at former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Politics must accept the reality of multiracial America and disavow racial backlash To empower parents, reinvent schools MORE’s inauguration in 2009. Brooks was also invited to perform at President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE’s inauguration in 2017 but declined due to a scheduling conflict with his ongoing tour at the time.

In addition to the performances at the swearing-in ceremony, the inaugural committee has also organized a prime-time special entitled “Celebrating America” that will air Wednesday evening and feature performances by Foo Fighters, John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and others.