Trump on $25M for Kennedy Center in Stimulus: ‘I Didn’t Have a Big Problem With It’

Melanie Arter | March 25, 2020 | 7:23pm EDT
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(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended the inclusion of $25 million in funding for the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., in the stimulus package under consideration by Congress, saying although it was a Democratic request, he didn’t have “a big problem with it.”

Besides the $25 million for the Kennedy Center, the Senate bill includes $75 million each for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, down from $300 each allocated by the House stimulus bill, Fox News reports.

Trump said the original request was $35 million, and the Republicans were able to take off $10 million.

During a White House briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump was asked, “Both Republican and Democrat packages of the stimulus included $25 million worth of funding for the Kennedy Performance Arts Center here in Washington, D.C. Shouldn’t that money be going to masks and respirators?”

“I approved that, and I knew -- it was $35 million, and we actually took off 10, but I'm a fan of that, although I 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 for me than going there, but the Kennedy Center has suffered greatly, because nobody can go there. It's essentially closed, and they do need some funding,” Trump said.

“I said, look, that was a Democrat request. That was not my request, but you've got to give them something. It’s something that they wanted. You know, it works that way -- Democrats have treated us fairly. I really believe that we've had a very good back and forth, and I say that with respect to Chuck Schumer. I spoke to him a number of times, but they had requests also,” he said.

“So that was a request. There were 35 as you know, and it came down to 25. We got it down to 25 -- we agreed. I said that's a lousy sound bite. That’s not a good sound bite, but that's the way life works. With that being said, the Kennedy center, they do a beautiful job, an incredible job,” the president said.

“David Rubenstein does a fantastic job. He’s very much involved, and he puts up a lot of money, and he does things that a lot of people wouldn't be able to do or do, but they’ve been essentially closed. They have tremendous deficits that have built up. I mean this thing has been devastating to it, so I didn't have a big problem with it, but this was a request from the Democrats because of the fact that they have a facility that’s essentially closed,” he said.

“You couldn't go there if you wanted to. If I wanted to go there and look at Romeo and Juliet. You know it would happen, they would say sorry, 250 people or 50 people, whatever it might be down to,” Trump said.


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