When the news came out in early 2021 that artists like John Legend, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez were performing at Joe Biden's inauguration, no one batted an eye. After all, most of Hollywood and the music industry lean left. However, one name on the bill for the inauguration had some people scratching their heads at the time: country music legend Garth Brooks.
On that note, what do we know about Garth Brooks's political affiliation? Here's what the musician has said about it over the years.
What is Garth Brooks's political affiliation? He said he's a Republican.
In a January 2021 press conference ahead of Biden's inauguration, Garth joked, "I might be the only Republican at this place, but it’s about reaching across and loving one another.”
"The message they're pushing is unity, and that's right down my alley, man," he added. "If we're gonna get anywhere we're gonna get there together."
Though Garth is a confirmed Republican, Joe Biden was not the first Democratic leader he has played for. He also performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Save for Ronald Reagan, Garth has performed for every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter, though not at every inauguration.
Garth Brooks turned down the chance to play at President Trump’s inauguration.
Garth Brooks was met with much praise and also some criticism when he declined the invitation to perform at President Donald Trump's inauguration. "I'll tell you with this whole presidential thing, we got one going out: pray for him and his family," he said in January 2017. "And for the president going in, pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let's stay together. Love, unity — that's what it's all about."
He continued, "We can't thank the Obamas enough for serving this country. And may God hold Trump's hand in the decisions that he makes in this country's name as well."
Ultimately, though, Garth's reason for not performing wasn't political. His tour schedule conflicted with the date of the inauguration.
Garth Brooks has been an open supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.
Garth has openly supported LGBTQ+ rights, from his music (most notably his 1992 song "We Shall Be Free," which denounced homophobia, among other topics) to his performances (he played the Equality Rights benefit for Gay Rights in Washington, D.C., in 2000).
In June 2023, following the firestorm from Budweiser's collaboration with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney earlier in the year, Garth alluded to the backlash by noting that all beers would be served at his upcoming Nashville bar, Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk, located in the city's South Broadway District.
Garth told a Billboard reporter that he wanted the honky-tonk to be "a place you feel safe in" as well as "a place where you feel like there are manners and people like one another."
"And yes, we're going to serve every brand of beer. We just are," he said. "It's not our decision to make. Our thing is this, if you [are let] into this house, love one another. If you're an a------, there are plenty of other places on lower Broadway."
Garth's comments about the beer caused "a little bit of a stir," as he noted on a Facebook Live on June 13, 2023. But he also doubled down on his earlier statements, saying: "Diversity. Inclusive. That's me. That's always been me."
"Everybody's got their opinions. But inclusiveness is always going to be me," he added. "I think diversity is the answer to the problems that are here and the answer to the problems that are coming. So, I love diversity. All inclusive, so all are welcome. I understand that might not be other people's opinions, but that's OK, man. They have their opinions. They have their beliefs. I have mine."
He also noted that it's the customers who will ultimately decide what beer gets served, based on what they ask for. He explained:
"The truth is, it's those people in those seats that make those decisions. And that's what Friends in Low Places is going to be. So here's the deal: If you want to come to Friends in Low Places, come in, but come in with love. Come in with tolerance, patience. Come in with an open mind, and it's cool."
He added: "If you're one of those people that just can't do that, I get it. If you ever are one of those people that want to try it, come. Let's go have some fun."