President Trump said Wednesday he had no problem with the Senate stimulus bill including $25 million in funding for the Kennedy Center, the large arts venue located in Washington, D.C.
‘Well, I approved that,’ he answered when a reporter asked him about the sum, pointing out that the original number Democrats pitched was $35 million. ‘But the Kennedy Center has suffered greatly because nobody can go there, it’s essentially closed.’
On the right, the Kennedy Center example was used as a talking point by Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits as they criticized Democrats for packing the legislation with goodies, and stalling on getting valuable need to the American people.
President Trump said Wednesday he was perfectly find with Congress giving $25 million to help the Kennedy Center, which is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak
The Kennedy Center is in Washington, D.C. and is adjacent to the Potomac River. It hosts performances including opera, ballet, theater and large-scale events
Before President Trump defended the funding conservatives like Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk were using it to blast Democrats for wasteful spending in the stimulus package
Even Donald Trump Jr. got into the action retweeting this message from Todd Starnes, a conservative radio show host and columnist
‘Democrats believe #coronavirus can be cured by providing $35 million in funding to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,’ tweeted Todd Starnes, a conservative columnist and radio host, highlighting the appropriate section of the legislation.
His quip was retweeted by Donald Trump Jr.
Charlie Kirk, another conservative talking head who runs the youth group Turning Point USA also fumed about the Kennedy Center funding calling it ‘government at its worst.’
‘How many ventilators could that money buy? How many masks could that buy? How many lives could that save?’ he tweeted.
Trump, however, threw water on that political attack, by telling reporters in the press briefing room that he loved the place.
‘I’m a fan of that,’ he said of the arts center, located adjacent to the Potomac River. ‘Although we haven’t spent time there because I’m far too busy, I’d love to go there evenings, but I’m too busy doing things, because that’s more important to me than going there.’
He did note that the Kennedy Center funding ‘was a Democrat request.’
‘That was not my request,’ he said. ‘But you’ve got to give them something, it’s something that they wanted, you know it works that way,’ he said, speaking of how bills are cobbled together in the House and Senate.
Trump also told the press that he believed the Democrats treated the White House and Republicans ‘fairly.’
‘I really believe we’ve had a really good back and forth,’ he said, praising Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, by name.
Trump indicated he was also aware that he was ruining conservatives’ fun.
Prseident Trump told reporters in the briefing room Wednesday that he loved the Kennedy Center and wouldn’t mind going to see a production of Romeo and Juliet there
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Trump ally, said the funding for the Kennedy Center was legitimate, but was mad that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi listed it among other ‘political’ items in the stimulus bill
‘That’s a lousy soundbite, that’s not a good soundvite, but that’s the way life works,’ he said after praising Congressional Democrats.
Trump had the backing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the father of his ex-press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who had tweeted in defense of the Kennedy Center funding.
‘Unlike absurd stuff in her list, [Kennedy Center] closure is covid related federal issue,’ the former governor tweeted.
Huckabee was still enraged with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, for grouping the Kennedy Center with those other items on her ‘political’ wishlist.
The president also praised David Rubenstein, a D.C.-based billionaire who has thrown money at large-scale projects like the Kennedy Center and fixing the Washington Monument.
‘The Kennedy Center they do a beautiful job, an incredible job, David Rubenstein does a fantastic job,’ he said. ‘But they’ve essentially closed.’
‘If I wanted to go there tonight to look at Romeo and Juliet, I’d love to see Romeo and Juliet tonight – you know what would happen? They’d say sorry 250 people or 50 people, or whatever it might be down to,’ the president said, trailing off.
To which a reporter pointed out that Trump’s coronavirus guidance said it’s gatherings fewer than 10.