Country musicians Toby Keith and Ricky Skaggs were reportedly presented with the National Medal of the Arts by President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The presentation took place on the same day that the US House of Representatives voted to accuse Trump of a historic second time in the wake of the January 6 violent uprising at the Capitol.
Because of Keith’s unwavering military support and jingoistic anthems such as “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)”, Oklahoma natives have long been assumed to be a conservative Republican, though Chicago Tribune, he is in fact a former Democrat who is no longer affiliated with any of the parties. In 201
Skaggs was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2018. A lifelong Republican and evangelical Christian, he expressed his support for Trump in a 2016 interview with Gospel Herald. “I love [Trump’s] enthusiasm and his fighting spirit, ”he said. “He does not want anyone to bully him because he himself is a bulldozer. Mr. Trump is someone who is tearing down and rebuilding. I believe that Donald Trump is the right person in the right place and that he is prophetic. ”
Skaggs started his career in bluegrass and brought elements of the genre to country radio with songs like “Heartbroke,” “Highway 40 Blues” and “Country Boy,” where the video featured bluegrass-sized Bill Monroe. Keith has meanwhile been a multi-year country radio hitmaker with pictorial hits such as “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, the strictly patriotic “American Soldier” and the news “Red Solo Cup.” They have both been relatively quiet in recent years – Keith released the singles “That’s Country Bro” in 2019 and “What’s Up Cuz” in 2020, though neither was mapped. Skaggs’ latest new music was released in 2014.
This is only the second time in his one-term presidency that Trump presents the National Medal of the Arts. In 2019, he gave the credit to Alison Krauss, art benefactor Sharon Percy Rockefeller, American military musicians and actor Jon Voight. Trump tried to present New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick with the Medal of Freedom earlier this week. The coach refused.
A representative of Keith declined to comment. A rep for Skaggs did not respond to a request for comment.