President Biden will host a concert by superstar Elton John on Friday night on the White House lawn — the exclusive location for the filming of a TV special.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden will speak at the 8 p.m. concert by A&E Networks, which will then air the special at an undisclosed future date.
“Tonight, as you all know, we will welcome Sir Elton John,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during her regular press conference – after journalists heard microphone 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 star of “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man” is widely regarded across the political spectrum, even performing during Donald Trump’s 2005 wedding to Melania Trump at the Republican Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
But when Trump won the 2016 election in a shocking vote, John declined to perform at his inauguration, saying, “As a British citizen, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to play at the inauguration of a US president.”
Though he got the cold shoulder from John, Trump usurped the title of one of his best-known songs to bestow the nickname “Little Rocket Man” on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in 2017. After exchanging insults, Trump and Kim met three times in a dramatic cooling-off of tensions.
And Trump famously responded 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 enabled Trump to nominate conservative judge Amy Comey Barrett, enabling a right-wing slingshot in court, including the abolition of federal abortion rights this year.
Jean-Pierre said Biden will “celebrate the tremendous contributions Sir Elton has made during his lifetime as a recording artist and advocate and are delighted to welcome an audience of approximately 2,000 fans to the White House, made up of teachers and nurses, frontline workers , mental health advocates, college students, LGBTQ+ advocates, and so many others.”
The spokeswoman said that “Tonight’s performance is organized in conjunction with and paid for by the A&E and [its subsidiary] the history [Channel] and will be televised at a later date.”
A&E is co-owned by Disney and Hearst.
A White House statement said the event is called “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme.”
The event “will celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, praising the life and work of Sir Elton John and honoring the everyday history makers in the audience.”