Voight has been one of the few and most prominent pro-Trump voices in Hollywood

By Adam Carlson
March 27, 2019 09:10 AM
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Jon Voight is one of 10 people President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will appoint to the board of trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The list of names, which include nine new trustees and one trustee who is being reappointed, include a range of backgrounds: Academy Award-winning actor Voight; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Carl H. Lindner III, the co-CEO of American Financial Group; and others.

All 10 will serve until Sept. 1, 2024, the White House said.

Adrienne Arsht, a business leader and major philanthropist of the arts, is being reappointed to the board. (She has been cooler on Trump, telling Politico in 2018 in response to a question about how his presidency was unfolding: “It confirms that Americans are resilient.”)

But a common theme unites most of the appointees, as is tradition: They are generally close supporters of the president picking them.

Voight, for example, has been one of the few and most prominent pro-Trump voices in Hollywood.

“He’s a patriot, and the people are responding because they know it’s exactly what has to happen,” Voight, 80, said in 2016, according to Page Six. “Somebody has got to get in there and clean it out — even take the paint off.”

According to the Washington Post, the Kennedy Center has 36 trustees who are appointed by the president, each of whom serves a six-year unpaid term.

The center also has 21 trustees ex officio as designated by Congress. Among them now are Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, their parties’ respective ranking members in the House.

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Jon Voight (left) and President Donald Trump
| Credit: Michael Kovac/WireImage; Aurelien Meunier/Getty

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Variety reports, citing a Kennedy Center spokesperson, that the nine exiting trustees are: David C. Bonnett, Giselle Fernandez, Norma Lee Funger, Rebecca C. Pohland, Shonda Rhimes, Rose Kennedy Schlossberg, Alexandra C. Stanton, Romesh Wadhwani and Anthony Welters.

At the time President Barack Obama left office, he had appointed all 36 of his available trustee slots, according to the Post. Among those he chose were Valerie Jarrett and Susan Rice, two top aides.

The Kennedy Center is most well-known for its annual Kennedy Center Honors, highlighting the lifetime work of a few key artists such as, for last year, Cher, Reba McEntire and composers Philip Glass and Wayne Shorter.

The event, though historically close to the White House, has grown distant from Trump. The president and first lady did not attend in 2017 and that year’s traditional White House reception was also scuttled to avoid “any political distraction” after Trump criticism from some of the honorees.

Trump and his wife did not attend last year’s honors either.

The center’s trustees do not select the annual arts honorees, according to Variety, though an executive committee of some trustees does approve the choices.