Trump refuses aid to Kennedy Center

Trump refuses aid to Kennedy Center


norman lebrecht

December 23, 2020

President Trump said last night that one of his reasons for throwing out the Covid relief bill was that it allocated $40 million to the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, arguing that since it was shut it needed no state aid.

Hours earlier, he had appointed one of his staunchest supporters to the Kennedy board. Pam Bondi, a former attorneey-general of Florida from 2011 to 2019, was a key Trump advisor during his impeachment trial.




  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    >>since it was shut it needed no state aid

    I hate to say it – but it kind of makes sense

    • Morgan says:

      Have you given that any thought?

    • ACinSV says:

      Had you *actually read* the thing you were responding to (!), you might’ve noticed the words “capital repairs” and “maintenance”. Hopefully, you can take it from there and connect the dots…?

      • William Safford says:

        If anything, *now* is the time to do capital repairs and maintenance, when nobody is using it.

        Just as I wish that Lincoln Center in NYC would take this opportunity to tear down Philharmonic/Avery Fisher/Geffen Hall and start over–but they won’t.

    • Susan Robinson says:

      Think again. The Kennedy Center employs thousands of people, and unlike many arts institutions, relies heavily on ticket sales for survival.

  • Rogerio says:

    Trumps’ America is like Toon-Town. A Toon can do just about anything … as long as it´s funny.

    • Anon says:

      Is anyone else going to miss the day by day disturbingly ill-conceived moves of a short-lived and monumentally dumb era?

    • Petros Linardos says:

      You must be referring to Trump’s cult following, which is a proven minority of the US population.

      • E Rand says:

        Oh! A minority you say? cool! That means we now qualify for victim status and can demand you bow to us. Thats how it work for minorities, right?

        • True North says:

          Do you have a reason for being here other than just making excruciatingly dumb comments on every story?

          • E Rand says:

            I enjoy opining on excruciatingly dumb stories (and demoncrap drone comments)

          • Luigi Crockett says:

            E Rand, do you live in the US? Have you or anyone you know caught COVID? Know anyone who died from it? If so, then those COVID cases are due to your pal Trump’s totally failed inadequate response to the pandemic. Please try to deny that. It is undeniable. To jog your memory, Trump belittled his loyal toadie Laura Ingraham of Fox News because she wore a mask to one of his super-spreader rallies. He accused her of trying to be “politically correct.” Is that what we needed from our president? Encouragement to do the wrong thing (not wear a mask)? That man is a selfish, hateful, ignorant monster. Wake up.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Yes, 70 million in that minority.

        • Anon says:

          Still the minority.

          • Luigi Crockett says:

            But that “minority status” is based on each Trump-follower’s CHOICE to be a certain way. Other minorities do not choose their race or whatever characteristic determines their minority membership. Those minorities are discriminated against for who they ARE (Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Native American, etc.) not for the ideology they CHOOSE to embrace.

  • James says:

    No aid needed – and none deserved.

  • Bone says:

    This article is factually inaccurate: Trump has nothing vetoed the Bill (which it veto proof due to the majority passage anyway). Trump did request that many funding items – including 1 billion to the smithsonian and 40 million to Kennedy – be cut out so aid to individuals could be increased. Definitely draconian.

    • John Sands says:

      The center got 23 Million in May for new auditorium seats.
      The 40 Million seems like a lot of damage to repair.

      How much would it cost to build a new ome?

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    The orange imbecile strikes again. No gentleman, no class, no style, no sophistication what an idiot.

    • Guest says:

      Because he doesn’t agree with you.

      • Maestro4 says:

        It has nothing to do with trump agreeing with Elizabeth. It has to do with trump not having even an once of culture. An uncultured person should not be the moral compass for a nation. Instead of dividing a nation with his talk of hate and lies, what the US needs now is comfort and music can be that vehicle. If culture could benefit him personally, financially or get him more women, trump would be all for it.

        • Guest says:

          Unlike the rap-digging Obama? You are ignorant of the cultural leanings of American presidents if you think Trump is any different in that regard. Its all online, which entertainers are invited to the White House and you can read for yourself.

          • William Safford says:

            Actually, you betrayed your ignorance with your post.

          • Susan Robinson says:

            Wow—don’t even bother to disguise your racism. Obama hosted all kinds of musicians in the White House. Trump never once set foot in the Kennedy Center.

        • E Rand says:

          Wait till you see the culture that comes out of the Biden/Harris camp. Like Rap? good. R&B? Pot smoke? Chinese Erhu? You’ll be good. I don’t need a President as avatar for culture. I need an administrator who makes the hard decisions and protects the inner life of the country. Plenty of Presidents other than Orange-man-bad who barely knew music…

      • Luigi Crockett says:

        No, because most of America (per last two elections) does not agree with HIM!

  • Alan K says:

    The KC is now led by Deborah Rutter, an aggressively “woked” leader who has demonstrated nothing but disdain toward the NSO and other performers of classical music. She has dumb downed the mission of the KC to the point that rap crap is given higher priority and visibility than serious and non-commercial artists the Center was supposed to home to. The KC is trending fast to being on the verge of being indistinguishable from some rock venue. Tax dollars should not support commercial entertainment whether it be football or pop music

    • Rogerio says:

      Here’s a thought exercise for you Alan.
      For a symphony orchestra there is a guy who sets up and runs the lighting.
      For a rap crap venue there is some gal who does the same job.
      COVID hits and both loose their rice-bowl.
      Which of the two should the government support?
      You decide. We trust you.

      • Monty Earleman says:

        One is non-profit, the other for-profit. You decide.

      • Hayne says:

        Good. Neither one. US government is not supposed to pick winners or losers. Oh wait, it does.
        Leave it to the educated populace. Oh wait, the state does most of the education also. What to do? More money of course!

    • Old Man in the Midwest says:

      Not sure what you mean but Ms Rutter did a great job managing the Seattle Symphony and the Chicago Symphony before finding her career path at the Kennedy Center. She is a great administrator fighting an uphill battle with the current administration.

      Believe me, I HATE rap music and the dumbing down of Classical music but she is not to blame for this trend towards the lowest common denominator.

      • Alan K says:

        I know numerous NSO musicians and have studied with one of them. She is universally despised by all of them. I will note that she played a role in getting Noseda as the music director and for that she deserves credit. But everything else she has done has been horrid in my view and that of most orchestra members I know

  • Anon says:

    What a clown. Here’s hoping the dumbass gets what he deserves.

  • Tim says:

    He has a point that this bill is pathetic and insufficient and like the previous one, bails out political donors while throwing crumbs to the bottom 99%.

    That said, let’s not be idiots here and think that all he is saying about it is correct, or that he is doing it for noble reasons.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      You are absolutely correct. However, I had to laugh when you say “or that he is doing it for noble reasons”. Has DT ever done anything in his life for a noble reason?

    • Peter San Diego says:

      (1) That is why Biden is calling it a down payment rather than a solution.
      (2) The insufficient $600 direct payment — which everyone, I think, agrees is insufficient — was the amount requested by his own Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin.
      (3) As for bailing out political donors and supporters, that has been the core of Trump’s policies from the tax cut to the pardons.
      (4) Trump had every opportunity to influence the course of the legislation while it was being drafted and revised, but utterly ignored the chance; he much prefers to throw monkey wrenches (simian spanners?) into the process at the end, than to be constructive. His impulses are destructive ones.

      Although the legislation passed with a veto-proof majority, I believe that until Trump formally vetoes the bill, Congress cannot override it. If he chooses the pocket veto, that will not expire until after his term is over, so Americans in need would be screwed until after the inauguration — which will be too late for too many.

      • Tim says:

        If Biden could get away with doing nothing for the bottom 90%, he would.

        Trump the same.

        Both parties are bought by the corporate oligarchs who also own and influence the media.

  • E Rand says:

    You people here have NO idea how angry citizens are about the pork in the Omnibus. Trump is responding in-kind, and I’m glad for it. The people see the salaries the admins have been paid, alongside millions to Pakistan for “women’s studies” and billions of other foreign aid when they are offered $600 by a gov that shuttered their businesses and ruined their lives over a virus with a 99.7-9% survivability. The Kennedy Center needs to sit this one out.

    • Bill says:

      Math is not one of your strengths, I see, as is typical for those of your tribe. Over 300,000 did not survive their encounters with the virus so far in the US, which implies that 100,000,000 of us must have had it thus far if 99.7% survive. Even with the estimate that only 1 case in 10 is diagnosed, we are nowhere near that.

      • E Rand says:

        Bill – for certain age groups that survival rate is perfectly accurate. For older, fatter, (pick your comorbidity) yes, it increases. But still around 97%. I don’t need math to quote from medical journals.

    • Jan Kaznowski says:

      Well said, E. Rand. Foreign Aid should at least have been paused.

    • V.Lind says:

      You think there is no need to study the conditions for women in Pakistan?

      • E Rand says:

        Not on my dime, and not this year. Not when people’s lives have been destroyed by ham-handed attempts to stop a virus that will end up doing what viruses do.

        • Luigi Crockett says:

          Whose hands are the hammy ones? May I remind you who has been in charge of US during the pandemic — although tiny, his distal upper appendages are, as you say, ham-handed in many ways. Check out Finland’s successful COVID response and tell me that what Trump has (not) done was correct.

      • Hayne says:

        Man’s wants are few. Man’s needs are infinite.

  • Patricia says:

    Quite right, too. That fund was supposed to go to small business that have had a terrible time – many have closed and may never re-open. The Kennedy Center is an enormous enterprise – it has 4 venues: Concert Hall, Opera House, Eisenhower Theatre and American Film Institute. Any money for the arts in DC should go directly to the musicians of the NSO. And that bill is jammed with ‘pork,’ which has nothing to do with covid or the arts. ($$$ for gender something for the women of Pakistan. $$$ for border security in Jordan. ) This bill is just Congress as usual.

  • Plush says:

    Under present leadership they don’t deserve any aid.

  • Hayne says:

    Government creates a problem. In this case lockdowns without proof which creates suffering for millions. To “fix” this problem they created they throw money at it. It’s called “ratchet effect” in economics. Keeps ratcheting up the problem. People get more angry.

  • William Safford says:

    NL, your comment is premature. The Orange Enemy of the People did veto a different bill, for the defense budget, but he has not yet (as of when I am typing this) vetoed this particular bill. He may very well do so, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Now, let’s talk about the veto of the defense bill.

    The Orange One yells and screams and bitches against “defund the police” movements, by those who have been injured and whose family and friends have been killed by police.

    Well, the Orange One just attempted to defund the entire U.S. military!

    Why? Because he doesn’t like the fact that the bill starts a process for the removal of the names of traitors from U.S. military bases (e.g. Fort Bragg). Plus one or two other minor details.

    That takes hypocrisy to a whole new level.

    In all likelihood, Congress will override his veto. But still.

    • Nick says:

      I wonder how much more venom a human can have towards another human. The enemy of the people are all around you, Safford, and they are NOT orange. You are blind enough not to see it. But you will realize it pretty soon!!

      • William Safford says:

        Why do I call him the “Enemy of the People?”

        Because that is what he calls the free press.

        He considers reporters enemies of the people.

        He often accuses others of being guilty of what he himself is guilty.

        Here is what President and Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said about a free press:

        “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”

        –he said to the United States’ first chief justice, John Jay, in 1786

        “No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press.”

        Now, compare that to the Orange Enemy of the People:

        “Trump has mocked the First Amendment’s right to freedom of religion by calling for a ban on Muslims from entering the country and criticized those who believe in the freedom of speech as “foolish people.” He has endorsed attacks on protesters and the imprisonment of people who burn the flag. He has attempted to silence and marginalize his critics by forcing staff, and even interns, to sign unconstitutional non-disclosure agreements and revoking, or threatening to revoke, the security clearances of former administration officials. His administration has also proposed to dramatically limit the right to protest near the White House and on the National Mall.

        “And Trump has made it very clear that he doesn’t stand for the freedom of the press. As a presidential candidate, he told supporters he would “open up our libel laws” to sue journalists. “We’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before,” he promised.”

        And much more.

        You are correct about “how much more venom a human can have towards another human.” The Orange Enemy of the People hates journalists and journalism with a passion that betrays the Orange One’s hatred of democracy.

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Trump is a barbarian, who has no need for culture. I hope SDNY gets him and joins Bernie Madoff and ends his last days in prison. SOB

  • Ana says:

    When we have an economic crises why in Gods green earth are we sending $40 million to Kennedy Center =– must have slipped the DEMS a boatload of money in exchange for……. Really Nancy Pelosi…in this time in our economy….. God you have no sense of decency as long as your ice cream is filled in your freezer all is right with the world…… God help us.

    • William Safford says:

      Because it’s wise to do. If nothing else, the economy needs a boost. Letting Kennedy Center fester by withholding $40 million — a pittance in a bill like this one — is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

      It is the decent thing to do.

      Now, withholding money from individuals, while the Orange Enemy of the People dithered over signing the bill–*that* shows that he has no sense of decency.

      Then again, so does his orders to separate children from their parents at the border, and siding with Putin over his own intelligence advisers, and profiting off of his political position, and his nepotism in the White House, and so much more.

  • William Safford says:

    Good news: the Orange Enemy of the People did eventually sign this bill.

    To give credit where it is due, he also is advocating for a larger $2000/person payment, over the bill’s $600/person. Never mind that he is now bargaining against himself, and never mind that he’s throwing most of his fellow Republicans under the bus, $2000 is still better than $600.