President Biden on Friday night will host a concert by superstar Elton John on the White House lawn — providing the exclusive venue for the filming of a TV special.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden will speak at the 8 p.m. concert put on by A&E Networks, which will then air the special at an undisclosed future date.
“Tonight, as you all know, we will be welcoming Sir Elton John,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at her regular press briefing — after journalists heard mic checks from the adjacent driveway.
The Bidens “look forward to hosting him at the White House for a spectacular performance on the South Lawn,” Jean-Pierre said.
The “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man” star is widely regarded across the political spectrum and even performed at Donald Trump’s 2005 wedding to Melania Trump at the Republican’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
But when Trump won the 2016 election in a shocking upset, John declined to perform at his inauguration, saying, “as a British National I don’t feel that it’s appropriate for me to play at the inauguration of an American President.”
Although he got the cold shoulder from John, Trump went on to appropriate the title of one of his best-known songs to bestow the nickname “Little Rocket Man” upon North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in 2017. After exchanging insults, Trump and Kim met three times in a dramatic cooling of tensions.
And Trump famously reacted to the 2020 death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg under the wing of Air Force One while “Tiny Dancer” played in the background. Her death allowed Trump to nominate the conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett, allowing for a rightward lurch for the court, including this year’s elimination of federal abortion rights.
Jean-Pierre said that Biden “will celebrate the vast contributions Sir Elton has made across his lifetime as an artist and an advocate and they are particularly thrilled to welcome to the White House an audience of around 2,000 fans comprised of teachers and nurses, frontline workers, mental health advocates, students, LGBTQ+ advocates and so many others.”
The spokeswoman said that “tonight’s performance has been organized and in collaboration with and is paid for by the A&E and [its subsidiary] the History [Channel] and will air on television at a later date.”
A&E is co-owned by Disney and Hearst.
A statement from the White House said the event is called “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme.”
The event “will celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, commend the life and work of Sir Elton John, and honor the everyday history-makers in the audience.”