Singer and Kennedy Center honoree Linda Ronstadt threw a little political shade at the arts center’s annual State Department dinner Saturday night, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo introduced her with what was supposed to be a humorous play on one of her hit songs.
Pompeo congratulated the singer and wondered aloud when he would be loved – a reference to Ronstadt’s hit, “When Will I Be Loved.” According to Sam Greisman, son of actress Sally Field – another of the evening’s honorees – the singer responded, “Maybe when you stop enabling Donald Trump.”
The State Department dinner is part of the Honors weekend, an annual event hosted by the Kennedy Center to celebrate the arts. The honorees are presented with their rainbow-ribboned medals and saluted by the nation’s top diplomat at an intimate event attended by the artists and their families.
Sunday’s celebration, to be hosted by LL Cool J, salutes Ronstadt; Field; Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony; the band Earth, Wind & Fire; and “Sesame Street,” the first television show to be honored.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are not attending Sunday’s performance, marking the third year in a row that they have declined. Previous presidents have typically attended the fundraising celebration since it was launched in 1978.