Advocates of Trump's 'Big Lie' hold more than a dozen seats on the Kennedy Center's board of trustees
- Well-connected political figures and megadonors are commonly found on the performing arts center's board.
Kennedy Centerappointee appears to have called for political violence, saying he was "disgusted with this lie that Biden has been chosen"
- In total, Insider found more than 40 appointees across 14 federal boards who publicly embraced election fraud lies and alluded to political violence. Read the full investigation here.
Seats on the Kennedy Center's board of trustees have long been favored handouts to generous and loyal political supporters. The gig comes with few responsibilities, free premium seats for events at the legendary performance hall, and ample opportunity to rub elbows with some of the most powerful people in the world.
In more than a dozen instances, those plum positions have gone to individuals who helped spread baseless election fraud allegations championed by former president Trump; attempted to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, and even raised the specter of political violence in fiery public comments.
Insider found that the board currently includes 16 appointees who have vocally supported Trump's election fabrications, called for violence in response to the election results, or financially supported politicians who did. That's out of more than 40 federal appointees Insider discovered who had spread vote fraud lies, made calls for political violence, downplayed the January 6
Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor said flatly on Fox News on the day of the insurrection that "there is evidence" of vote fraud. Huckabee endorsed Republican lawmakers who pledged not to vote to certify the election results and disputed that Trump intended to overturn them. "If the funny business went on - that we have thousands of affidavits indicating, that we have videotape indicating, that you have expert testimony, if you have that and you don't investigate it, then you leave this cloud over Joe Biden and his election," Huckabee said on Fox. Huckabee did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Pam Bondi. The former Florida attorney general and Trump administration aide made herself a key figure in the disgraced one-term president's failed efforts to push the false fraud narrative. "We've won Pennsylvania, and we want every vote to be counted in a fair way," Bondi said, three days before the state's vote was called for Biden. "Here we GO!!!" she tweeted a few days later with a screenshot of a report that then-Attorney General William Barr had authorized federal prosecutors to pursue allegations of voting irregularities. Bondi did not respond to requests for comment. Jon Voight. In a bizarre video he posted to Twitter in November, the "Midnight Cowboy" star promoted Trump's election-fraud fraud lies, compared liberals to Satan, and said the country was facing its "greatest fight since the Civil War." Voight said: "My fellow Americans, I stand here with all the feelings I do, disgusted with this lie that Biden has been chosen. As if we all don't know the truth. And when one tries to deceive, we know that one can't get away with it, there will be a price to pay …. Let us fight this fight as if it is our last fight on Earth." Paraphrasing Muhammad Ali, Voight said, "It's not over until the last punch you have." A spokeswoman for Mr. Voight told Insider he was not available for comment.
In addition, nearly a dozen right-wing megadonors and their spouses on the Kennedy Center's board of trustees have generously funded campaigns for candidates who aligned themselves with efforts to discredit the 2020 election results and even signaled sympathy with the mob that overran the Capitol.
Asked for comment, a Kennedy Center spokesperson said, "For decades, across numerous administrations, we have had a bi-partisan board that works collaboratively and positively to advance the mission of the Kennedy Center. Despite differences in backgrounds and beliefs, they are all united in their support and in coming together to collaborate in the name of the Arts."
At the upcoming 44th annual Kennedy Center Honors, scheduled for December 5, board members will have an opportunity to hobnob with honorees Berry Gordy, Joni Mitchell, Lorne Michaels, and Bette Midler.
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