Joe Biden keeps checking items off the list of things Donald Trump said he would do as president: pull out of Afghanistan, sign a giant infrastructure bill, let the government negotiate prescription-drug prices, pal around with Tom Brady, and now — perhaps Trump’s fondest dream of all — attending a live Elton John concert at the White House. The singer will perform on Friday night.
Even allowing for the fact that Trump’s a boomer from New York City, the depth and sincerity of his affection for John is staggering. Trump has cited him in several books as his go-to example of a winner. He regularly plays his music at rallies, despite the singer’s request that he abstain. He nicknamed Kim Jong-Un, his second-favorite world leader, “Rocket Man.”
When he attempted to pass an Elton John album to the North Korean dictator, Trump told aides that he hoped the singer would appreciate his gesture. “The president said something like, ‘Boy, I bet Elton will get a kick out of this!’” a former senior Trump-administration official told The Daily Beast. “It seemed like he hadn’t spoken to [John] in a while … I know from my conversations with the president that he finds it regrettable that he and Elton John haven’t been closer during his presidency.”
The love has been unrequited. After Trump won the 2016 election, a spokesperson told the New York Post, “Elton John is going to be doing our concert on the Mall for inauguration.” The singer replied that he would not be singing at the inauguration but delicately chalked up his reluctance to his British citizenship. “Thank you so much for the extremely kind invitation to play at your inauguration,” he wrote. “I have given it a 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.”
Maybe John felt it would be fine to perform at the White House as long as it wasn’t an inauguration, and Trump could have had him over on literally any other day except January 20, 2017, but John failed to mention that rather enormous loophole at the time.
In a twist of the knife, a White House official tells CNN that John’s staff “expressed an interest on his behalf in playing again at the White House” — i.e., the idea came from Elton John. Guess there are times when we all need to share a little pain.