Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) received a standing ovation at a Trump-less Kennedy Center Honors late Sunday, which largely stayed away from political talk but had moments that alluded to the tense partisan climate around the country.
The ceremony in Washington celebrated five honorees for their lifetime artistic achievements, including actress Sally Field, the children’s TV show “Sesame Street,” singer Linda Ronstadt, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the band Earth, Wind & Fire.
While President Trump was noticeably absent for the third year in a row from the star-studded gala — which is traditionally attended by the commander in chief — Kennedy Center Board Chairman David Rubenstein said in remarks to the crowd that a record number of lawmakers and government officials were at the 42nd annual soiree.
“We have more leaders of our government than I’ve ever seen at a Kennedy Center Honors,” Rubenstein said.
After a restrained round of applause from the audience for an array of Trump administration Cabinet members, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, among others, Rubenstein said, “We have over 40 members of Congress here tonight.”
“I can’t mention you all, but let me just mention the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi,” said Rubenstein.
Suddenly, the audience rose to their feet with zealous cheers and applause.