Elton John reached out to the administration of President Joe Biden to ask if he could play at the White House, despite Donald Trump’s long admiration for the singer and his attempt to have him play his inauguration.
“His team has expressed interest on his behalf,” a White House official said of John, who will be performing on the South Lawn Friday night.
While the current first few are fans, Biden’s White House predecessor Donald Trump long considered John a personal friend and was reported to be “obsessed” with him.
John declined to play at Trump’s inauguration, but did tell him if he would ever host officials from the UK at a state dinner he would conduct — similar to what he did in February 1998 when John performed at a state dinner during Bill’s presidency. Clinton for then British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Trump has never received the British for such an occasion.
Now John will perform for a commander in chief if he makes headlines ‘A Night When Hope and History Rhyme’ that will celebrate the healing power of music and praise the singer’s life and work.
Elton John contacted President Joe Biden’s administration to ask if he could play in the White House
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will be in attendance Friday night when Sir Elton John plays on the South Lawn in front of a packed crowd
A huge white tent was erected on the South Lawn of the White House to make it 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 includes teachers, nurses, frontline workers, mental health advocates, students and LGBTQ+ advocates, the White House said. Guests from A+E Networks, Sir Elton John and White House staff will also be in attendance.
A+E Networks and The History Channel are paying for the event. The concert will be broadcast on A+E at a later date.
John is on his farewell tour. On Saturday nights, he plays at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC
Biden and John met before when both men appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late night talk show in November 2017.
The concert comes as the White House ramps up its event schedule — and the number of guests it will host — as the country moves out of 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 inauguration in January 2017 – John declined
Elton John last played at 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 is Trump who has long been obsessed with Elton John.
Trump even saw the singer’s music as key to US relations with North Korea. He had an autographed CD of John’s song “Rocket Man” delivered to Kim Jung Un after the two men met during a meeting in Singapore in 2018.
He had used the song as a nickname for Kim.
According to the New York Times, Trump also tried to get John to play at his inauguration in 2017.
The singer refused.
“Thank you so much for the extremely kind invitation to play at your inauguration,” John wrote, according to the Times. “I’ve thought about it for a long time and as a British citizen I don’t think it’s appropriate to play at the inauguration of an American president. Please accept my apologies.’
He then made his offer to play at a state dinner celebrating Anglo-American relations
“I had the honor of performing at a White House state dinner for the United Kingdom during the Clinton presidency and I’d be happy to do the same for you if the opportunity arises,” John noted. ‘I too wish to wish you every success in your presidency. I love America very much, a country that has always welcomed me and my music with kind, tolerant and open arms.’
John had played at Trump’s third wedding to Melania Knauss in 2005.
“Tiny Dancer,” one of John’s most well-known songs, was an important part of Trump’s campaign rallies, even as the singer expressed reservations.
“I don’t want my music to have anything to do with an American election campaign,” John told The Guardian in 2016. ‘I’m British. I met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it’s nothing personal, his political views are his, mine are very different, I haven’t been a Republican for 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 had broken, comparing the turnout at his campaign rallies to the turnout at Elton John concerts held at 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’ve broken more Elton John records. He seems to have many records.’
‘And I don’t have a musical instrument, by the way. I don’t have a guitar or organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And many other people who help. No, we broke a lot of records. We’ve broken pretty much every record.’