Kennedy Center Honors

I knew I’d miss the eminently gracious President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama entertaining at the White House. They hosted cultural celebrations of various kinds, opening the People’s House to a broad and diverse swathe of America, inviting in the rest of us via coverage on TV. One of those events was the elegant White House reception before the Kennedy Center Honors.

This year the Trumps are not attending the Kennedy Center Event. Trump doesn’t want to go anywhere where he risks being booed. I doubt this high end crowd would actually boo, but clearly the reception would not be warm much less adulatory. And the pre-event at the White House is canceled after three of the five honorees announced they wouldn’t go because of Trump’s moral equivocation re white supremacists and Neo-Nazis after the tragedy in Charlottesville.

There are many signs of how isolated from American life Trump is, this far from the most serious or consequential. But it is significant, and to me a little shocking, that after so little time in the White House, the Trumps are already radioactive.

Beyond big events, there is no visible evidence of family life in the White House, as there was with the Obamas. Trump seems to spend his free time golfing with male friends, watching TV, or on the phone with people who still want to talk with him. I don’t know what Melania does all day. The White House can be a lonely and isolating place. I’m sure she misses her New York friends, and it’s much harder to make new friends — as opposed to sycophants and hangers-on — in the hothouse environment of Washington D.C. There is no sign that the Trumps are going to host cultural events, or work to demonstrate that the First Family is there in part to model family values for the nation.

The Trump presidency represents so many losses, it’s hard to say this is the biggest or the worst. But it is noticeable. We don’t really have a First Family, and the White House — which Trump describes as “a dump” — is not much the People’s House.

5 thoughts on “Kennedy Center Honors

  1. The Kennedy Center Honors may be a moot point. One of the news pundits on Thursday night predicted that “Trump will resign by the end of the year and declare victory.”

  2. for Katie: I saw that pundit — interesting. I think what might prompt it is if Mueller’s investigation gets close to Trump and his equally complicit offspring, although I think he wants to retain the pardon power to get them all off the hook. I’m pretty sure Mueller will find payments to all of them to grease the wheels of money laundering through Trump properties. That’s serious stuff.

  3. I too miss seeing a joyful, people-centered White House which brought everyone together. Occasionally PBS and other TV channels will replay events and concerts hosted by the Obamas, where the entertainment is great and everyone is having a good time. Especially the first family!
    I’m curious also – what does Melania do all day? And will we see photos of Barron heading off to his first day of school?

  4. for Phyllis: Melania is reported to be an intelligent woman, so she knew the bargain she was making in marrying Donald. She gets glamour, gold surroundings and lots of money, but not much of a life with him. Trump reportedly spent very little time with Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. growing up, and I can’t imagine he gives any more time to Baron. There is no First Family life in the White House, because I think there is very little family life there to start with. It’s a great loss for the country, especially by contrast to what we enjoyed with President and Mrs. Obama.

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