Garth Brooks Hugs Barack Obama as Some Fans Fume Over Inauguration Role

Following his performance of "Amazing Grace" at President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, Garth Brooks embraced former President Barack Obama with a big hug, much to the chagrin of some of his more conservative fans.

The way Garth brooks shook Biden and Kamala’s hand versus him dapping up Obama 😂

— AFK (@Boogie_IVAN) January 20, 2021

After he finished singing on the inauguration stage, Brooks first shook hands with Biden, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and former Vice President Mike Pence. Someone filming their TV screen also captured Brooks embracing Obama in the background, and shared the clip on social media. The country superstar was seen in another clip online hugging former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and former First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

#Bipartisanship moment! After @garthbrooks finishes beautiful #AmazingGrace, he shakes hands with @Potus, then @VP45, then @VP, runs up to @BarackObama, hugs @MichelleObama, hugs @BillClinton and @HillaryClinton and then Clinton points him over to @GeorgeWBush and @laurawbush!!

— Susan Tran (@susantran) January 20, 2021

Brooks has recently come under fire from conservative-leaning fans, for offering his musical talents to Biden's inauguration. He's also been criticized by some in the past for embracing Democratic politicians—or, at least, for being perceived as having embraced them. The singer drew some backlash last year for wearing a Barry Sanders Detroit Lions jersey onstage, after many people mistook the gesture as a show of support for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who was competing for the Democratic nomination for president at the time.

On Twitter on Wednesday, a few people tweeted about their frustration with Brooks for participating in Biden's Inauguration Day ceremony. A couple of folks in particular mocked concerns about COVID-19 by suggesting that Brooks wasn't abiding by social distancing guidelines when he hugged the former president.

Garth Brooks has been a d*ckhead for a while

He played at both Obama and Biden’s inaugurations, but not Trump‘s due to “scheduling concerns”

— 🦅 (@DefundSoy) January 20, 2021

Whoa! @garthbrooks hugging the Clinton's, Obama's and Bush Jr.? Well I'll be damned, without social distancing or a mask... Gee what's that all about? If it were Trump he'd be blamed for being reckless with our health. #DoubleStandards

— NBE1975 (@nbe1975) January 20, 2021

Let’s just hope Garth Brooks isn’t Typhoid Mary. He hugged Biden, Harris, Bill & Hillary, the Bush’s & the Obama’s.

— Rhys Riddell (@RhysRiddell) January 20, 2021

While some people might be taking issue with Brooks' performance, the singer reiterated the new president's message of unity. "This is not a political statement," he said on Monday, according to The Tennessean. "This is a statement of unity."

In anticipation of Brooks' performance, the singer caught some blowback for being involved with the ceremony. One person mocked his message about why he was performing, calling it a "statement of submission" rather than one of unity. Another person called for a boycott of Brooks' music.

It is a statement of submission. “I accept your fraud and to hell with the people who made me rich because I already got mine.” —@garthbrooks

— Nick Searcy, INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION STAR (@yesnicksearcy) January 19, 2021

Boycott Garth Brooks!!

— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) January 19, 2021

Radio host Peter Rosenberg took joy in Brooks and Obama's hug, precisely for the reason that it would tick off a certain faction of Brooks' fans.

Lolllll the Garth Brooks - Obama Dap and hug makin em sick!!! Ya love to see it!!!!

— Peter Rosenberg (@Rosenbergradio) January 20, 2021

Despite some negative backlash, other people were happy to see the embrace between Brooks and Obama, and many alluded to the time that Obama sang "Amazing Grace" in June 2015 at the funeral for Clementa Pinckney, following a shooting at Charleston, South Carolina's Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Many people online pointed out that Obama could be heard saying "Amen" as Brooks finished. There were also calls for the two to duet, and a debate about which of the two did a better job singing "Amazing Grace."

After “Amazing Grace” by Garth Brooks, we heard an unmistakable “amen!” from former President Obama, who famously sung the same hymn at the Charleston memorial. 🎶

— Sarah Pulliam Bailey 🖋️🖋️🖋️ (@spulliam) January 20, 2021

Please let @BarackObama join Garth Brooks to do a duet on Amazing Grace #Unity

— Tom Perriello (@tomperriello) January 20, 2021

Would love to see @BarackObama duet with @garthbrooks on Amazing Grace.

— Ray Locker (@rlocker12) January 20, 2021

Brooks' admiration for the 44th president is no secret. The country superstar had performed at Obama's inauguration back in 2009.

Garth Brooks Joe Biden Inauguration
Garth Brooks performs at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Rob Carr/Getty

Correction: An earlier version of this story had misspelled Hillary Clinton's name.