In The Know

Would Aretha Franklin perform at Trump inauguration? ‘Good question.’

She performed at President Obama’s inauguration, but Aretha Franklin seemed hesitant about doing the same for President-elect Donald Trump.

{mosads}”That’s a good question,” the soul queen — who belted out “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)” at the 2009 inaugural celebration — exclaimed to ITK when we inquired Sunday whether she would perform on Jan. 20, if invited.

“That’s a very good question,” she repeated with a wide smile before pausing. “We’ll see,” the 74-year-old “Queen of Soul,” a guest at Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors, offered, before being ushered off the red carpet.

Franklin was one of several high-profile artists — including Ringo Starr, Bob Seger, Kevin Spacey, Placido Domingo, Bonnie Raitt, Laurence Fishburne, Don Cheadle and Vince Gill, among many others — who flocked to Washington for the 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors. This year’s honorees included: pianist Martha Argerich, actor Al Pacino, The Eagles, gospel singer Mavis Staples and musician James Taylor.

Just weeks after the presidential election, politics played into the night’s festivities.

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen, politicians, diplomats, endangered swamp dwellers,” Stephen Colbert, the ceremony’s emcee for the third year in a row, told the crowd as he opened the show.

“It’s all going to be OK,” Colbert quickly added.

The CBS’s “Late Show” host, who’s been critical of Trump, quipped that next year’s Honors would include some of the president-elect’s celebrity backers: Scott Baio and Meatloaf.

Colbert also paid tribute to President Obama, who along with wife Michelle Obama, attended the black-tie fete.

“I think we can all agree, the last eight years the White House has given us a leader who’s passionate, intelligent, and dignified,” he said.

Following a standing ovation (one of several throughout the evening for the commander in chief) Colbert then cracked to Obama, “Sir, I don’t know why you stood up — I was talking about Michelle.”

Former President Bill Clinton surprised the audience by taking the stage to recognize one of the honorees.

Clinton said he wanted to “pay special tribute” to James Taylor, calling him his “friend of many years.”

The Obamas could be seen standing up and singing along to Garth Brooks and Sheryl Crow’s rendition of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).”

David Rubenstein, the Kennedy Center’s chairman, praised the first couple in what became a lovefest of sorts for the departing president. Marking the final time Obama would be a guest at the Honors as the sitting president, Rubenstein declared he’d be offering the couple a “golden ticket” to attend any performance at the historic institution for free.

“Parking is extra,” he jested.

Former President John F. Kennedy’s grandchildren also thanked Obama, with John Schlossberg, son of Caroline Kennedy, saying the 44th president showed “all of us that politics still can be a noble profession.”

The Kennedy Center Honors airs Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Tags Bill Clinton Donald Trump Michelle Obama

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