Anthony Scaramucci, the member of the presidential transition team, made the claim during an interview on the BBC program “HARDtalk” this week. But Fran Curtis, the publicist for the British singer, issued a strong denial by email:
“Incorrect. He will NOT be performing.”
Mr. Scaramucci, who founded the investment firm SkyBridge Capital and has referred to himself as a gay rights activist, used his appearance on the BBC show to discuss his own stance on same-sex marriage. He said that Mr. Trump shared his views.
A snippet of that interview was subsequently published by The New York Post, which also initially reported Mr. Scaramucci’s claim that Mr. John planned to perform on Jan. 20 in Washington.
“This will be the first American president in U.S. history that enters the White House with a pro-gay-rights stance,” Mr. Scaramucci said on the show. “Elton John is going to be doing our concert on the mall for the inauguration.”
The Post later said that Mr. John had denied its initial report.
Emails and telephone calls requesting comment from Mr. Scaramucci were not immediately returned, but on Wednesday afternoon, he admonished someone on Twitter who suggested he had lied about Mr. John’s appearance.
“Let’s drop the rhetoric,” Mr. Scaramucci wrote. “It was an honest impression that I got wrong. It was a fast-paced interview, and you can see I thought it was true.”
Mr. John’s denial is the second false alarm in a week involving Mr. Trump’s inaugural entertainment prospects. On Saturday, the musician Vince Neil said that his invitation to play at the inauguration had been rescinded after Mr. Trump won the election.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump had few A-list celebrity supporters. It’s still unclear who will perform at the inauguration. No major musician has stepped forward, but Ted Nugent, Loretta Lynn and Kid Rock were among those who voiced their enthusiasm for Mr. Trump’s candidacy. (Kid Rock performed at an inauguration event for Barack Obama in 2009.)
Securing a performance by Mr. John, 69, would have been a long shot: He performed at a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s opponent, last month. Mr. John, a longtime activist and the founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump’s.
The singer told the news site Mic in October that the possibility of a Trump victory made him “fear for the world” when it came to helping raise awareness of and spurring activism for treating and curing H.I.V. “He’ll marginalize people; he’s already doing it,” Mr. John said.
The Daily Beast reported in February that two of Mr. John’s hits, “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer,” were among Mr. Trump’s preferred songs to play on the campaign trail. Mr. John suggested to The Guardian that asking Mr. Nugent to use his music might be a better choice.