Charlie Brotman, 89, earned the spot of lead announcer for President Elect Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 inaugural parade.
He earned it because he has served in that role for every inaugural parade since President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second term in 1957.
Sixty years of service should mean something in a decent society that respects elders but it didn’t mean squat to Trump’s team, who replaced Brotman with Steve Ray, 58, a freelance announcer and Trump backer.
The decision to replace Brotman with a younger announcer shows a terrible lack of class and could potentially constitute age discrimination.
Of course, Trump’s team didn’t come out and say that Brotman is too old for the job, though that was implied.
Presidential Inaugural Committee Director of Communications Boris Epshteyn announced Ray’s appointment in this way:
“The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be proud to honor Charlie as Announcer Chairman Emeritus on January 20th… We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade.”
The reference to Brotman as “emeritus” introduces the element of age, as does Epshteyn’s reference to hiring Ray, a younger announcer, to introduce a “new generation” to the traditions of the parade.
Brotman is quoted as stating he was “destroyed”and “devastated” when he learned that he had been dumped by Trump. However, he perked up after The Washington Post ran a story about him and several local television stations offered him a position as a parade commentator. Brotman will serve as parade commentator for a Washington NBC affiliate, NBC4.
The really sad thing about this episode is that Trump’s representatives are “introducing a new generation of Americans”not to the grand tradition of inaugural parades but to shameful tradition of age discrimination in employment in America. Brotman remains a lively and intelligent man who has the added advantage of experience.