Noted Republican country musician Garth Brooks is set to perform at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Wednesday, January 20th.

“In our household, this is not a political statement, this is a statement of unity,” Brooks shared in a virtual press conference. Garth Brooks confirmed that he was asked by First Lady Jill Biden to perform at the swearing-in ceremony.

The decision to get a Republican artist to perform at a Democratic inauguration is a hopeful symbol of bridging the overwhelmingly partisan divide. “I’m so tired of being divided,” Brooks admitted.

“There’s a common theme in every presidential election,” Brooks said. “New beginnings. New starts. We’re all together in this one, but truly I think the word unity, the word love, the word that we belong to each other. … We can’t just take extreme left and extreme right, because there’s a silent majority in the middle. It’s going to dwarf both of those.”

The announcement falls on the 12-year anniversary of Brooks’ performance for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, where he delivered a searing performance of his politically-fuelled anthem ‘We Shall Be Free.’ Brooks confirmed that he would not be performing the track on Wednesday’s celebration, “We were lucky enough to do ‘We Shall Be Free’ at the Obama inauguration, so I don’t think you’ll see that here.”

Brooks took a moment during the press conference to reflect on the fact he will be performing the same stage that

Brooks will be performing on the same stage that, just two weeks earlier, was the scene of a riot among pro-Trump demonstrators who, convinced that the election was stolen from him, stormed the Capitol. Five people were killed.

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“It was disturbing. It was sad. Try to remember that we are the human race, so I’m always going to find sunny sides in there,” he mused.

“The fact that we do make choices very much on the spur of the moment. I deal in music. I deal in raw emotion. That is what music is all about, and all that passion, guided, misguided as it is, I think that you saw the human race at a time that, for me as a person, seemed to reflect some other country’s deadline, if that makes any sense.

“But it’s here, and all I can do is beg and plead for everybody to take that second, that moment, take a breath and think about it. Think about your family. Think about what the mark you’re going to leave on this planet as a human being, and with the children that you raise, and then make your decision.”

“So I think what happened was we saw people in the heat of the moment, and we’ve seen it on television before, but I’m with you. I felt like it was in some other country, but it was here. And now we deal with it, take responsibility, we claim it, and now we do our best to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again.”

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