So far, there is little indication that president-elect Donald Trump will fulfill his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” and radically change Washington. But while the elite appears to be doing quite well, scoring position after position in the incoming administration, one unsung mainstay of American politics has fallen victim to the change of guard in the US capital: Charlie Brotman, the 89-year-old announcer of every inaugural parade since that of Dwight Eisenhower’s in 1957. He learned last week that he was being replaced with a much younger vocal Trump supporter.
Brotman, who was preparing for his next inauguration, told several media outlets that he was “heartbroken” when he learned of the change. “I’ve been doing this for 60 years,” he told the local affiliate of ABC. As a 22-year-old student, he served as one of the announcers during Harry S. Truman’s inauguration, and was asked to be the “President’s Announcer” by Eisenhower after he liked how Brotman introduced him during a baseball game.
His successor, the 58-year-old Steve Ray, a freelance announcer and audio engineer was a volunteer for the Trump campaign. Brotman told the ABC affiliate that he suspects the change happened because of Ray’s political loyalties, although he speculated about “ageism” in an interview with “The Daily Beast.” He tried to find out the reasoning behind the decision, but could not get an answer from the inaugural committee. They want to name Brotman “Announcer Chairman Emeritus,” but he is still deciding whether to accept the title and attend the parade.
As presidential announcer, Brotman would prepare for the parade by studying up on each military unit and marching band and would fill the air time with presidential fun facts, trying to keep the ceremony entertaining.
In addition to his prestigious post, for which he gets no compensation according to The Washington Post, Brotman made a career as a sports announcer during baseball games and tennis tournaments.