Linda Ronstadt calls Mike Pompeo a Trump enabler during reception

Linda Ronstadt, who was honored Sunday night as part of the latest group of recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the arts, took a shot at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the night before during a reception dinner.

2019 Kennedy Center Honoree singer Linda Ronstadt arrives at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

2019 Kennedy Center Honoree singer Linda Ronstadt arrives at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Pompeo, who was the official host of the event, welcomed the guests and, according to Variety, invoked the Ronstadt hit “When Will I Be Loved .”

“As I travel the world, I wonder when will I be loved,” he said.

Later in the evening, it was Ronstadt’s turn to address the audience. She is known to be a critic of President Trump. According to Variety, she approached the microphone and—while just feet from Pompeo—said, “I’d like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he’ll be loved, it’s when he stops enabling  Donald Trump.”

The report said that the audience gasped as Ronstadt took her seat. The crowd eventually cheered her comment the report said. Ronstadt retired from performing in 2011 due to the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

Actress Sally Field, Ronstadt and the disco-funk band Earth Wind and Fire shared the spotlight Sunday night as part of the latest group of recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the arts.

Also in this year’s class were conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and long-running children’s TV show “Sesame Street.”

Once again, Trump’s attendance was a topic of speculation until the White House said Friday that neither he nor first lady Melania Trump would attend. Trump skipped the past two celebrations; in 2017, multiple recipients threatened to boycott the event if he attended.

Tom Hanks, as the entered the building, pointed out that this annual tension seems unique to the Trump administration.

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“We’ve been here for Republican presidents and we’ve been here for Democratic presidents,” he said. “We were all celebrating the arts in America.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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