Donald Trump is not just a fan of Elton John — he’s borderline obsessed. A new report from the New York Times documents Trump’s complicated history with John and the numerous instances in which the legendary musician has directly or indirectly influenced the president’s actions.
According to the Times, Trump’s relationship with John dates back to 2005, when the Rocket Man played Trump’s wedding to Melania. A decade later, as Trump crisscrossed the country campaigning for president, he would blast John’s music aboard his private airplane so loudly that his staffers could not sleep.
Following his surprise victory, Trump told friends that John would perform at his inauguration. But when an official invitation was extended, John responded with a handwritten note passing on the gig. “I have given it at lot of thought, and as a British National I don’t feel that it’s appropriate for me to play at the inauguration of an American President,” John informed Trump. “Please accept my apologies.”
John left open the possibility of a future performance at a White House State Dinner for the UK, as he did during the Clinton presidency. He also compelled the future president to continue the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and closed his letter by wishing him “every success with your presidency.”
Here’s Elton John’s full nite, sent via email, to the president elect in Nov 2016 pic.twitter.com/zNR1epQxDN
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 15, 2019
The public rejection didn’t seem to lessen Trump’s fandom of John, however. After bestowing North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un with the nickname “Little Rocket Man,” he later sought to ease tensions between the two countries by gifting Kim with an Elton John record. According to the Times, Trump also hosted a screening of the recent John biopic Rocketman at the White House.
Trump also measures the success of his own rallies in comparison to the attendance numbers of John’s concerts. Last summer while holding a rally in Montana, Trump remarked how he had “broken more Elton John records.”
“He seems to have a lot of records!” Trump told the crowd. “And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No, we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record.”
Trump expressed similar sentiments following a rally in New Hampshire earlier this month after being informed that he drew a higher attendance than a recent concert by John at the same venue. “Great news! Tonight, we broke the all-time attendance record previously held by Elton John at #SNHUArena in Manchester, New Hampshire!” Trump tweeted in celebration.
However, in the days that followed, Trump became annoyed after the media neglected to cover the accomplishment. Per the Times, “Though aides were not surprised as they did not view the accomplishment as a major story, to the president, it represented an emotional wound — his belief that he is perpetually demeaned and never receives his due.”