Team Elton John reached out to President Joe Biden’s administration to ask if he could play at the White House despite Donald Trump’s long admiration for the singer and his attempt to get him to play his inauguration.
While the current first couple are fans, Biden’s predecessor in the White House, Donald Trump, long considered John a personal friend and was reported to be ‘obsessed’ with him.
‘His team expressed an interest on his behalf,’ a White House official said of John, who will perform on the South Lawn on Friday night.
John declined to play at Trump’s inauguration but did tell him if he ever hosted officials from the UK for a state dinner he would perform – similar to what he did in February 1998 when John performed at a State Dinner during Bill Clinton’s presidency for then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Trump never hosted the Brits for such an occasion.
Now John will perform for a commander in chief when he headlines ‘A Night When Hope and History Rhyme’ that will celebrate the healing power of music and commend the life and work of the singer.
Elton John reached out to President Joe Biden’s administration to ask if he could play at the White House
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will be on hand Friday night when Sir Elton John plays on the South Lawn to a packed crowd
A massive white tent was constructed on the South Lawn of the White House to turn it into a concert venue for the pop star’s show. Thousands can fit on the lawn, which is part of the 18 acres that make up the White House complex.
The audience will include teachers, nurses, frontline workers, mental health advocates, students, and LGBTQ+ advocates, the White House said. Guests of A+E Networks, Sir Elton John, and White House staff will also be there.
A+E Networks and The History Channel are paying for the event. The concert will air at a future date on A+E.
John is on his farewell tour. On Saturday night he will play at Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Biden and John have met before when both men appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late night talk show in November 2017.
The concert comes as the White House increases its events schedule – and the number of guests it will host – as the country moves on from the COVID pandemic.
Musician James Taylor played at the White House last week for a celebration of the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act. Thousands of guests crowded the South Lawn for the event.
Donald Trump had asked Elton John to play at his January 2017 inauguration – John declined
Elton John last played the White House in February 1998 when he performed at a State Dinner during Bill Clinton’s presidency for then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair
But it’s Trump who has long been obsessed with Elton John.
Trump even saw the singer’s music as key to U.S. relations with North Korea. He had an autographed CD with John’s song ‘Rocket Man’ delivered to Kim Jung Un after the two men met in Singapore meeting in 2018.
He had used the song as a nickname for Kim.
Trump also tried to get John to play at his 2017 inauguration, according to the New York Times.
The singer declined.
‘Thank you so much for the extremely kind invitation to play at your inauguration,’ John wrote, according to the Times. ‘I have given it at lot of thought, and as a British National I don’t feel that it’s appropriate for me to play at the inauguration of an American President. Please accept my apologies.’
He then made his offer to play during a state dinner celebrating Anglo-American relations
‘I was honoured to perform at a White House State Dinner for the UK during the Clinton presidency and I would be delighted to do the same for you if the opportunity arises,’ John noted. ‘I also want to wish you every success with your presidency. I love America deeply, a country that has always welcomed me and my music with kind, tolerant and open arms.’
John had played at Trump’s third wedding in 2005 to Melania Knauss.
‘Tiny Dancer,’ one of John’s most well-known songs, was a staple at Trump campaign rallies even as the singer expressed reservations about it.
‘I don’t really want my music to be involved in anything to do with an American election campaign,’ John told The Guardian in 2016. ‘I’m British. I’ve met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it’s nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I’m not a Republican in a million years.
Joe Biden and Elton John have met before; both men appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late night talk show in November 2017 (above)
Donald Trump is a huge Elton John fan; Trump, John and then Melania Knauss are seen together at the 12th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party; John played at Donald and Melania’s wedding
And Trump bragged about all the Elton John records he’d broken, comparing attendance at his campaign rallies with attendance at Elton John concerts held in the same venue.
‘Great news! Tonight, we broke the all-time attendance record previously held by Elton John at #SNHUArena in Manchester, New Hampshire!’ Trump tweeted in August 2019.
And, at an event in Montana during his presidency, Trump said: ‘I have broken more Elton John records. He seems to have a lot of records.’
‘And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No, we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record.’