WASHINGTON, D.C. — Linda Ronstadt, one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees, had sharp words for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday night during a State Department reception for the Kennedy Center kudos.
Ronstadt and Pompeo faced off in the U.S. State Department’s ornate diplomatic greeting rooms at the traditional event that precedes Sunday’s Honors gala. Some 200 guests were assembled to celebrate this year’s honorees: Ronstadt, Sally Field, Earth, Wind and Fire, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and “Sesame Street.” The State Department dinner is where honorees receive their Kennedy Center rainbow ribbons.
Pompeo, an embattled protector of President Trump, was enjoying his first turn as official host of the event. During the pre-dinner welcoming address, he quipped: “As I travel the world, I wonder when will I be loved,” invoking the words of Ronstadt’s 1975 hit “When I Be Loved,” penned by Phil Everly.
Ronstadt has been an outspoken critic of Trump. When it came her turn following dinner to receive the honor and make optional remarks, Ronstadt rose to the microphone a few feet away from the host’s table and looked straight ahead. “I’d like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he’ll be loved, it’s when he stops enabling Donald Trump.” Then she sat down.
The line drew immediate gasps from the audience, followed by slowly building applause, and then cheers.
Among those in attendance was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who received a standing ovation from a majority of the politically divided gathering.
Ronstadt disclosed in 2013 that she was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She is the subject of the new documentary “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,” which was released theatrically earlier this year and is set to debut Jan. 1 on CNN.