Trump Taps Jon Voight, Mike Huckabee for Kennedy Center Board


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump intends to appoint actor Jon Voight, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Broadway producer Daryl Roth to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The list of new appointees also includes American Financial Group co-CEO Carl Lindner III, TCW Group chairman Marc I. Stern, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren, AG Hill Partners’ Heather Washburne, arts philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, author Karen Tucker LeFrak, and hotelier Kelly Roberts. Their terms will run through Sept. 1, 2024.

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The appointments often go to donors, fundraisers and other high profile figures who have been loyal supporters to presidents of either party. Voight was among Trump’s most steadfast defenders in Hollywood, and appeared at inaugural festivities at the Lincoln Memorial, while Huckabee is the father of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and has a biting Twitter presence. He also pushed for federal arts funding, even though the Trump administration wanted to zero out money for the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Kennedy Center board is extensive: It currently has 36 members appointed by the president, according to the center website, along with 21 ex officio members designated by Congress.

A Kennedy Center spokesperson said that board members David C. Bonnett, Shonda L. Rhimes, Giselle Fernandez, Norma Lee Funger, Rebecca C. Pohland, Romesh Wadhwani, Anthony Welters, Alexandra C. Stanton and Rose Kennedy Schlossberg are stepping down. Arsht already is a trustee and was reappointed to a new term.

Trump declined to attend the venue’s signature event, the Kennedy Center Honors, in the first two years of his term. In his first year in office, some of the honorees, including Norman Lear, said they would not attend a traditional White House ceremony before the event in protest of Trump’s proposed cuts to the arts. Last year, the honorees included some of the president’s highest-profile critics, including Cher and members of the cast of “Hamilton.”

The president is not involved in the selection of honorees. Rather, the executive committee of the board of trustees of the Kennedy Center approves recommendations made by a special advisory committee as well as names submitted online from members of the public.

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