Kennedy Center Honors: George Clooney, U2, Gladys Night And Others Feted On A Bipartisan Night — With Some Reminders Of MAGA And Donald Trump

Kennedy Center Honors: George Clooney, U2, Gladys Night And Others Feted On A Bipartisan Night — With Some Reminders Of MAGA And Donald Trump

Guest after guest at the Kennedy Center Honors told reporters of the spirit of bipartisanship at the ceremony, what with the presence of President Joe Biden, Chief Justice John Roberts and congressional leaders of both parties.

But throughout the evening there still were reminders of the darker aspects of where politics has gone in recent years: Sacha Baron Cohen’s tribute to U2 was actually a satire on the extent to which anti-semitism has reemerged in discourse and threat, while the appearance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was greeted with a standing ovation for his recovery. He survived a brutal attack by an intruder at their San Francisco home, in what police say was the suspect’s attempt to harm his wife.

On the red carpet, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) reminded reporters that even in a time of division, the Senate “has done a lot of great things over the past couple of years.”

“We’re becoming a little more polarized as a nation, and that’s being reflected in the people that are being elected,” he said. “So hopefully we can keep the partisan effort alive.”

The Kennedy Center Honors lacks the suspense and nationwide news attention of EGOT, but the show itself is one of the better produced and entertaining of all kudos broadcasts. And with POTUS in attendance, there are few other premiere events at the top of the D.C. social calendar.

That never really changed when Trump was president, even as he skipped the ceremony and declined to hold a pre-White House reception.

Starting last year, Joe Biden returned that tradition, with figures like Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle and Matt Damon attending the East Room ceremony for one of the honorees, George Clooney.

“This is going to be a roast instead of an honor,” Clooney quipped to reporters, noting the teasing he’s gotten from some of his past co-workers, especially for his 1990s appearance as Batman.

He was one of five honorees along with U2, Tania León, Gladys Night and Amy Grant, each of them, in their own way, activists in social causes or groundbreakers in representation.

Clooney praised Biden as a president with “great intentions and he has passed some incredible legislation, which kind of gets overlooked. They are not very good at bragging about it. And so he’s done a really good job and I am very proud to be a supporter.”

As for Donald Trump’s first presidential bid, Clooney noted that he was “dead wrong” about the prospects for his first run in 2016 so “I am not allowed to talk about it anymore.”

D.C. soon will be different, Republicans take a slim majority in the House, with promises of investigations and, if the past is any guide, attacks on government arts funding.

Asked about what’s ahead, Clooney said, “Every two years these things turn around and governments change and we always worry about it for periods of time, and we find a way. I think we will find a way. We have to so far. Hopefully.”

“It’s going to be tricky,” he added. “It’s going to be a tough couple of years. I think it is going to be harder on, I think it is going to be harder on the House because you are going to have to kowtow to some pretty extreme views on one side, and I think that’s going to make it difficult. And so I hope we can actually get past all the crap and actually deal with the things that people need to have dealt with. We’re trying to avoid World War, Ukraine continues to need to be supported. There’s so many things that actually matter that shouldn’t be politicized. So hopefully we can get around that. For a year.”

Asked whether he has ever been tempted to go into politics himself, Clooney’s wife Amal Clooney gave a rather grimaced face and he told reporters, “We have a really nice life.”

More to come.