Obamas hosted, paid for private Prince concert at White House
The party took place Saturday night, according to the New York Post’s Page Six, and while little is officially known about the shindig, questions from persistent reporters ultimately prodded the White House into confirming the event – and clarifying that the Obamas paid for it themselves.
WH official says it was a private party for Obamas friends and family. No hint of it on the president's weekend press schedule.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 15, 2015
Rumors of Prince landing at the White House had been circulating last week, but the Obama administration’s spokesperson, Josh Earnest, told reporters on June 12 that he didn’t have any details on the president’s weekend schedule.
On Saturday night, though, high-profile individuals such as Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and NFL player Russell Wilson posted updates on social media declaring that they had been to the White House. Not only that, but the posts specifically said that Prince and Stevie Wonder were performing together that evening.
Leaving the White House party w/POTUS and FLOTUS. Awesome to see Prince and Stevie Wonder on keyboards together. Unbelievable experience.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) June 14, 2015
The administration declined to say who was at the party in terms of guests, with Earnest simply saying that “friends” had been invited. It’s unclear if any lawmakers were at the event. According to the Washington Post, some Fortune 500 CEOs may have been in attendance, as well as lobbyists.
Meanwhile, the New York Post stated numerous celebrities also made an appearance, such as artists Jon Bon Jovi and James Taylor, as well as TV and film stars Tyler Perry, Connie Britton, Angela Bassett, Gayle King, and Tracee Ellis Ross.
As for the musical performances, Prince and Stevie Wonder reportedly sang a “showtopping number” of the song “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.”
At the Monday press briefing, Earnest was asked why the White House did not verify the event prior to the weekend. One noted that the alleged head count was double that of an official state dinner, but Earnest simply referred to the gathering as “private” and therefore not subject to much discussion.
“The President and First Lady did host a private event here at the White House over the weekend,” he said. “But given the fact that it was a private event, we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about it.”
Chinese hackers should leak the guest list https://t.co/P56cjo1vfJ
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) June 15, 2015
Asked about it again later, Earnest said the Obamas did not use taxpayer funds for hold the party.
“It was a private event and an opportunity for the President and First Lady to host some of their friends at the White House at a party they paid for on their own dime,” he said.