But PEOPLE reports that “no amount of money” could convince the late singer to play Trump’s inauguration, according to “Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump’s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington,” by reporters Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng.
“In the days after election night, President- elect Trump ordered Tom Barrack, his longtime confidant who was chairing the Presidential Inaugural Committee, to reach out to the music icon or her people to see if she would sing at his inaugural concert,” Markay and Suebsaeng write. “Trump, who knew Franklin leaned liberal and had sung for Obama, had for years claimed the legendary soul artist was his dear ‘friend’ and desired it to be pitched to her as a chance to bridge the ideological chasm and to help heal the country following an emotional, unsparing general election.”
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Rev. Al Sharpton at Aretha Franklin’s funeral: “When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said she used to work for me. No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.” https://t.co/qSW5iZgtqR pic.twitter.com/QrvJrR4kw3
— ABC News (@ABC) August 31, 2018
Sinking in the Swamp continues: “What Franklin never got the chance to tell Trump to his face is that around the time she had learned of Team Trump’s overtures, she privately stressed to friends that ‘no amount of money’ could make the singer, a committed Hillary Clinton supporter, perform at a Trump inauguration.
“More bluntly,” Markay and Suebsaeng write, “in the year and a half before she passed away, Aretha Franklin would repeatedly call Donald Trump ‘despicable’ and, even more pointedly, a huge ‘piece of s—.’ “
In the days following Franklin’s death in August 2018, Trump told reporters that the singer had “worked for [him] on numerous occasions.”
Rev. Al Sharpton was one of many who fired back at the claim, speaking at Franklin’s funeral, he said: “When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, ‘She used to work for me.’ No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.”
“You know, the other Sunday on my show, I misspelled ‘Respect,’ and a lot of y’all corrected me,” Sharpton added. “Now, I want y’all to help me correct President Trump to help teach him what it means.”
In her 1999 autobiography, Franklin noted the impact that her version of Otis Redding’s “Respect” had on her fans since it was released in 1967.
“It was the need of a nation, the need of the average man and woman in the street, the businessman, the mother, the fireman, the teacher — everyone wanted respect,” she wrote.. “It was also one of the battle cries of the civil rights movement. The song took on monumental significance. It became the ‘Respect’ women expected from men and men expected from women, the inherent right of all human beings.”