- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Famed announcer Charles Brotman said Monday that he felt suicidal after learning from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team that he would not be announcing the inauguration parade.

The 89-year-old has announced the presidential inaugural parades of 11 presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. Last week, he said he was informed via email that he had been replaced by Steve Ray, a D.C.-based freelance announcer who has done promotional segments for the Washington Nationals, CNN reported.

“I looked at at my email, then I got the shock of my life,” Mr. Brotman told CNN’s Carol Costello. “I felt like Muhammad Ali had hit me in the stomach.”

“I was disappointed because I thought I would be the announcer,” he said. “And then when I read the email, I thought I was going to commit suicide. It was really terrible.”

Mr. Brotman told a local ABC News affiliate that he had already started preparing for Mr. Trump’s inauguration when he was left “heartbroken” and “destroyed” by the email. He said it came just weeks after the death of his 91-year-old wife, Sada, who passed in December from complications of a stroke, the New York Daily News reported.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s transition team, Boris Epshteyn, said Mr. Brotman will be honored at the Jan. 20 inauguration as “announcer chairman emeritus.”

“Since 1957, millions of Americans and countless entertainers have come to recognize Charlie Brotman as the voice of the inaugural parade,” he said in a statement, CNN reported. “The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be proud to honor Charlie as Announcer Chairman Emeritus on January 20. We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade.”

Mr. Ray said he’s not trying to oust Mr. Brotman.

“I’m not replacing Charlie. I’m not filling his shoes,” he told ABC. “I’m really just the guy who’s next, because Charlie is irreplaceable. He’s an absolute legend.”

Mr. Brotman said he wished his successor well.

“As opposed to — boy, I hope he fouls up so they say, ‘We want Charlie back.’ No. I don’t want that at all,” he said. “I’m saying, ‘You know what? Good luck, young man. I hope you do spectacular.’”

Mr. Brotman said he is still considering whether he will attend the inauguration at all, despite his VIP status.

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