January 10, 2017

Charlie Brotman has been announcer of every single presidential inaugural parade since 1957. But this year, he was dumped by the Trump inaugural committee.

Good news: Charlie Brotman has been hired by WRC TV in Washington DC to announce the inaugural parade for them. He's turned down Trump's ticket to the parade to work for them.

On last night's Last Word, Joy Reid asked Brotman why he thought he'd been fired.

-- transcript --

JOY ANN REID, MSNBC: There's one thing that every presidential inaugural parade has had in common for the past 60 years. The man known as the eyes and ears of the President, the parade announcer, Charlie Brotman. He announced his first inaugural parade in 1957 for President Eisenhower's second term and has a broadcasting term that dates back to 1949. Brotman has been the official announcer in 16 inauguration parades. But he won't be behind the mic for Donald Trump's inauguration day. They cast him aside, giving the gig to freelance announcer and Trump campaign volunteer Steve Ray. It's no surprise the Trump team has shown little reverence for the American tradition and for basic human kindness. But let's face it, treating Charlie Brotman, a man who looks forward to that phone call from the White House every four years, a phone call he sometimes makes himself to remind an administration of his duty, to treat him with so little compassion on the thing that is his thing just seems downright shabby. Joining me now is Charlie Brotman. Charlie, and I'm going to let my friends and the audience know, you did know I can call you charlie, so I'm going to call you Charlie.


REID: Charlie, how did you find out that you were not going to be announcing the Trump inaugural?

BROTMAN: I received an e-mail that says, Charlie, you are so spectacular. You are so wonderful. You sound great. And you're like the leader of the pack here in the capital city. But I wanted to let you know, you're not going to be the announcer. And I'm saying, impossible. Is this an imposter there? What are you talking about I'm not going to be the announcer? Well, we've made some changes and we're going to allow you special privileges and we are going to put down you in a special box seats near the President. And it's going to be our honor to honor you. And I said, gee, that's all well and good, but what happened to the announcement -- the announcer, the guy that's done 15 consecutive, the parades, and 10 different presidents, what happened to that?

REID: And did they explain to you why they chose someone else?.

BROTMAN: No, they didn't. I asked the question several times. In each case it was, we'll get back to you. Our communications director will call you back. Nothing.

REID: You're terrific. Obviously, you've been -- you mentioned you've done 15 of these inaugurals. Tell us about the first one and you did and your favorite one.

BROTMAN: Well, we do have over three days on this, don't we? What happened, I was the public relations stadium announcer for the Washington Senators' baseball team. President Eisenhower was there to throw out the first ball. And all celebrities, including the President, they bring that individual to me. I take them into the locker room and the dugout, introduce them to all the players. And players and the President get a big kick out of this. So I had done everything that I could to be a pal of the President. The season is over and everything went well for opening day. It's now November 1956, and a woman calls me and says, are you Charlie Brotman? I says, yes, ma'am. She says, I'm calling from the White House. The President has been asking everybody, get that announcer, see if he'll announce me again.

REID: Wow, that's terrific!

BROTMAN: I'm saying, holy mackerel, this is really special. Would I like to? Just tell me where and when. She says the 'where' is Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. The when is January 20, 1957. I told the lady, I'm a native Washingtonian and that sounds like the presidential inauguration parade. She says, Mr. Brotman, you are absolutely correct. You will be the president's announcer.

REID: Whoa! That's amazing. I understand you have with you a little memento from the last announcer gig that had you did with President Barack Obama. Can you show that to us real quick?

BROTMAN: I will, indeed. Here's that baby. It doesn't look like much here but when I open it up, look at how many pages, how much it weighs. From people over 50, it's similar to the yellow pages in years going by. So, normally it takes maybe two hours, but for Reagan and for Kennedy, it was four hours.

REID: Well, Charlie Brotman, I have to tell you, America has fallen in love with you. You may not be announcing at the inaugural parade, but I think in all of our hearts, we're going to hear your voice over that loud speaker. You are terrific, sir. We wish you all the best. Oh, thank you, Charlie. Have a wonderful night.

BROTMAN: That was very nice. Thank you.

----- end transcript -----

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