Donald Trump, Nearing End Of Presidency, Taps Supporters For Slots On Kennedy Center Board Of Trustees

Donald Trump is tapping a series of donors, supporters and other figures to fill spots on the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

On Tuesday, the White House said that the president intended to appoint Elaine Chao, his secretary of transportation, to the board. Also announced was Lynn Friess, who with her husband, conservative activist and donor Foster Friess runs a family philanthropic foundation; Douglas Manchester, the San Diego real estate developer whose nomination to be the ambassador to the Bahamas was dropped amid reports of an alleged pay for play scheme; Hannah Buchan, founder of an asset management fund whose husband Duke is the U.S. ambassador to Spain; and philanthropist Catherine Reynolds.

The board of trustees includes three dozen members appointed by the president to six-year terms. Trump’s appointees have included Jon Voight, Lee Greenwood, Mike Huckabee and Andrea Wynn. Last week, Trump announced a series of other appointments to the board, including Pamella DeVos, the sister in law of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos; lobbyist Brian Ballard and Robert Castellani, CEO of North American Rescue; and Mary Helen Bowers, fitness guru and former New York City Ballet dancer.

Trump did not attend the signature event of the year for the Kennedy Center, the Kennedy Center Honors, after some of the honorees in 2017 said that they would not participate in a traditional White House reception held on the weekend of the ceremonies. Because of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremonies, usually held on the first weekend of December, have been pushed back to late spring.

The Kennedy Center board of trustees also include ex officio members designated by an act of Congress.

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