Legendary sport announcer Charlie Brotman has announced every inaugural parade since that of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957. Last Thursday, Donald Trump told him, “You’re fired!”
Charlie learned the news from an email sent by Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC). He told local ABC affiliate WJLA he was “heartbroken” and “destroyed” by the decision.
In an interview with CNN he said:
I was disappointed because I thought I would be the announcer, and then when I read the email, I thought I was going to commit suicide. It was really terrible.
I looked at my email, then I got the shock of my life. I felt like Muhammad Ali had hit me in the stomach.
Charlie was the announcer for the Washington Senators baseball team and has been inducted into 11 halls of fame. More than one person has referred to him as ‘a legend’ and ‘an institution.’ Even the Inaugural Committee had to give him his due — albeit by email. It read:
First and foremost, on behalf of the PIC staff we want to thank you for your service to this country as the lead announcer for the inaugural parade. There is no question that you are a Washington institution and a national treasure.
Charlie Was Fired By A Group With No Class.
Apparently, he’s not enough of a ‘national treasure’ to be given the news in person, to be brought to the Trump tower and given a sumptuous lunch to soften the blow. But what can we expect from a man who disrespects and mocks the disabled and threatens to take Social Security away from the elderly?
The legend’s replacement will be Steve Ray, Charlie’s junior by several decades. Ray, at least, was respectful of his predecessor. He said:
All of us think of Charlie as much of the Washington landscape as any building. I’m on top of the world. From my point of view, I am not filling his shoes, I’m not taking his place, I just happen to be the guy who’s next.
Charlie, himself, was gracious, saying of Ray:
I want him to do good. As opposed to, boy, I hope he fouls up so they say, ‘We want Charlie back.’ No. I don’t want that at all.
I’m saying, ‘You know what? Good luck, young man. I hope you do spectacular.’
Now that’s class — something the Trump team knows little about. The PIC belatedly released a statement that said:
The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be proud to honor Charlie as Announcer Chairman Emeritus on January 20.
They promised him a ‘prime seat’ and recognition at the parade, but a consolation prize in no way makes up for the lack of respect already shown.
D.C. Outrage Followed After Charlie Was Fired.
The Washington Post, especially, took umbrage that Charlie was fired. On Monday, the paper wrote:
It is an insult for the Trump inaugural committee to dismiss this man from a role for which he is eminently qualified. The decision to replace him with Steve Ray, a commercial voice-over talent, is yet another example of the Trump campaign’s disconnect with Washington tradition.
That’s neither the first nor the last tradition that Trump has shown he’s disconnected from. Washington and the country need to brace themselves for an onslaught of dishonored traditions and ignored protocols — some of them downright dangerous.
The Post went on to demonstrate what honoring a legend really means. They suggested that D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser give Charlie the tribute he deserves by renaming one block of Desales Street NW ‘Charlie Brotman Lane’. The paper also called the PIC play the way they saw it:
Mr. Brotman has earned the District’s respect. Incoming political officials must earn it. Strike one for the Trump teammate responsible for this action.
Strike three and … you know what happens then.
Watch Charlie Brotman’s interview with CNN here:
Feature photo from Charlie Brotman on Facebook.