Inauguration Day

Longtime Inaugural Announcer Returns for 12th President

Charlie Brotman was not invited to participate in President Trump's inauguration

NBC Universal, Inc.

Longtime inauguration announcer Charlie Brotman is returning to the role for President-elect Joe Biden.

Brotman, 93, had been the voice of the parade for 11 presidents, from President Dwight Eisenhower to President Barack Obama, but he was not invited by President Donald Trump's inaugural committee to continue the tradition in 2017.

Brotman found out Tuesday Biden's inaugural committee would like to have him back. His part has been prerecorded.

Brotman, who lives at an assisted-living facility in Silver Spring, Maryland, shared his memories of being the voice of the president with NBCWashington.

"I did all of them, whether they were one term, two terms. I was always their announcer," said Brotman, a native Washingtonian.

He didn't start out with that intention.

"I'm not a political guy," he clarifies. "I wanted to be a sports announcer."

Native Washingtonian Charlie Brotman, 93, shares the key to being a great inaugural parade announcer for 11 Presidents from Eisenhower to Obama.

And that's how it began. In 1956, the Washington Senators hired Brotman to be the announcer at Griffith Stadium. Brotman was there to introduce President Dwight Eisenhower when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day.

Later that year, Brotman got a call from a White House staffer, who told him, "'You must have impressed the president. He's got everybody in the White House looking for you.'"

Brotman was offered the gig as "the president's announcer," he recalls, "and I was thinking, 'Gulp.'"

That was the start of a long run, with a simple philosophy:

"I find that my responsibility as an announcer is to inform and, in many instances, entertain," he said. "And when I say 'entertain,' the star of the show is the presidents, and I never want to take away from that."

But in 2017, everything changed.

"What broke my string [and] also broke my heart was President Trump," Brotman recalls.

Trump's inaugural committee sent Brotman an email saying they had selected a new announcer. The email read in part, "There is no question that you are a Washington institution and a national treasure. We would like you to come and be a part of the parade as announcer chairman emeritus."

Brotman declined the offer.

This year, due to the pandemic, the parade will be conducted virtually.

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