Linda Ronstadt rebukes Michael Pompeo with barb about ‘enabling’ Trump

Linda Ronstadt
Kennedy Center honoree and singer Linda Ronstadt arrives at the State Department dinner on Saturday in Washington.
(Kevin Wolf / Associated Press)

Kennedy Center honoree Linda Ronstadt let Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo know that she thinks he’s no good during a headline-making callout at a reception over the weekend.

The tense confrontation came shortly after Pompeo, who was hosting Saturday’s State Department reception ahead of Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, quoted the genre-hopping musician’s 1975 hit version of “When Will I Be Loved” as he congratulated her for a lifetime achievement in the arts.

“Ms. Ronstadt,” the top diplomat reportedly said, “thank you and congratulations.... As I travel the world, I wonder: When will I be loved?”


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He may have meant it as flattery, even a rhetorical question, but Ronstadt certainly didn’t take it that way. She made that clear later in the evening when it was her turn on the microphone.

“I’d like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he’ll be loved, it’s when he stops enabling Donald Trump,” the 73-year-old said, according to Variety and CNN. Ronstadt, who gets around in a wheelchair due to Parkinson’s disease, made the statement a few feet away from the host’s table in front of about 200 people.

It was a bold move from the longtime liberal activist, who put Pompeo on blast on his own turf. Since the event was hosted by the government, the room was politically split, unlike other high-profile Hollywood diatribes issued by Meryl Streep at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards or Robert De Niro at the 2018 Tony Awards.

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump skipped the gala on Sunday, which honored Ronstadt, actress Sally Field, disco-funk band Earth Wind and Fire, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and beloved children’s TV show “Sesame Street.”

Linda Ronstadt didn’t want a documentary made about her life, and she wouldn’t talk about the past for “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.” But she gave the go-ahead to filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. In her plain-spoken manner, she relives her decision.

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