The White House welcomed a star-studded group of guests on Thursday to attend President Donald Trump's signing of the Music Modernization Act, and Trump's working lunch and Oval Office sit down with rapper Kanye West and former NFL player Jim Brown.
- The White House hosted some prominent entertainers on Thursday to celebrate President Donald Trump signing the Music Modernization Act, which ensures the rights of songwriters in the digital era.
- Kid Rock, The Beach Boys cofounder Mike Love, country singers John Rich and Craig Morgan, and Christian rock band MercyMe were among the musicians in attendance.
- Later on, rapper Kanye West and retired NFL player Jim Brown joined Trump for a working lunch to discuss a handful of issues.
The White House welcomed a star-studded group of guests on Thursday to attend President Donald Trump’s signing of the Music Modernization Act, and Trump’s working lunch. The president also had a sit-down in the Oval Office with rapper Kanye West and former NFL player Jim Brown.
The Music Modernization Act, named for retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is also a songwriter, secured widespread bipartisan support.
The Act updates current music licensing law to enable songwriters to be adequately compensated from revenues originating from online music streaming, allow producers to earn royalties from songs played over online and satellite radio, and ensure royalty payments for the writers and performers of songs written before 1972.
Musicians including Kid Rock, The Beach Boys cofounder Mike Love, and Christian rock group MercyMe attended the bill signing. NFL legend Jim Brown and Kanye West later joined Trump in the Oval Office for a working lunch and a televised meeting with reporters. West previously met with Trump shortly after his election in 2016
Here are all the celebrities who appeared at the White House on Thursday:
Robert James Ritchie, better known as the musician Kid Rock, attended the signing for the Music Modernization Act at the White House in his signature rockstar garb and sunglasses.
“This business of music is a pretty dirty business … but this is a great start to protect songwriters, producers, engineers — the unsung heroes behind many of these songs that go out there,” he said of the Act.
Kid Rock himself is one of Trump’s most prominent supporters in the entertainment community, and even floated a run for Senate in Michigan, although he later revealed it was a promotional tactic for his most recent album.
Trump welcomed Sam Moore, a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer best known as one-half of the soul and R&B duo Sam & Dave, to the White House and wished him a happy 83rd birthday, which he celebrates October 12.
“He looks good,” Trump joked. “83! That means there’s a future for us.”
Trump gifted Moore a pen used to sign the Act. Moore praised Trump for helping get the act signed into law.
“When Mr. Bush was in we couldn’t get it done. When we had Mr. Obama in, we couldn’t get it done. But we got it done with this man,” Moore said
Mike Love, the Grammy Award-winning cofounder of The Beach Boys who also holds a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, also appeared alongside Trump for the bill signing.
“People can say what they want, but you’ve always been a big supporter of some of the best music America’s ever made,” Love said of Trump.
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, who had a long career in music as a guitarist for bands including Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers during the 1970s and 1980s, and later toured with artists including Sheryl Crow, Dolly Parton, and Rod Stewart in the 1990s, also attended the signing.
More recently, however, Baxter has been better known for his work as a missile defense expert and consultant.
After gaining expertise in the topic and obtaining several security clearances in the 1990s, Baxter was appointed to the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense, and has worked as a consultant for the Department of Defense.
John Rich, who appeared to celebrate the bill’s signing, is not only a longtime country singer-songwriter who preformed as a bass guitarist in the band Lonestar and as half of the Big & Rich duo, but a 2011 “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant.
“He happened to win the Apprentice, but we won’t even get into that,” Trump, who hosted “The Apprentice,” joked. “I know him better than anybody. I said ‘you’re fired’ to everybody except John Rich … he’s good under pressure which is very nice.”
Rich took to Twitter to celebrate the bill signing, writing, “And the #MusicModernizationAct is now American law! Thank you to the Senate, House, and [Trump] for unanimously passing this bill. The songwriters thank you!”
Christian rock band MercyMe
The contemporary Christian rock band MercyMe, pictured here at the 2018 Grammy Awards, also appeared at the White House to commemorate the bill signing.
The band has previously preformed at the 2017 annual White House prayer breakfast.
Country artist Craig Morgan also joined Trump and fellow artists to celebrate the bill’s signing.
“Honored to be at the presidential signing of the Music Modernization Act into law,” he wrote on Twitter after the meeting.
Kanye West, who has become a controversial and polarizing figure in the entertainment industry and in the African-American community over his vocal support of Trump, sat down with Trump and retired NFL player Jim Brown in the Oval Office after the bill signing.
After Trump, West, and Brown discussed issues including urban redevelopment, economic opportunity for African-Americans, and gang violence over lunch, their televised Oval Office sit-down took a different theme when West launched into a freewheeling 10-minute soliloquy.
“Trump is on his hero’s journey right now, and he might not have expected to have a crazy motherf—er like Kanye West,” he said.
West also discussed his thoughts on bipolar disorder and mental illness, offered opinions on improving American manufacturing and job creation, and said wearing a “Make American Great Again” hat made him “feel like Superman.”
“You are tasting a fine wine,” West said after his impromptu remarks. “It has multiple notes to it.” The meeting ended with West embracing Trump in a hug.
“He can speak for me anytime he wants,” Trump said of West. “He’s a smart cookie. He gets it.”
Former NFL player Jim Brown
Joining Trump and West for their Oval Office sit-down was retired NFL player Jim Brown, who devoted much of his resources as a high-profile athlete to advocating for civil rights and spearheading initatives to help African-Americans start their own businesses in the 1960s.
After the meeting, he took questions from reporters outside the White House and offered his thoughts on NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systematic racism.
“Well, I can be very blunt about taking the knee. First of all, I’m an American. That flag is my flag,” Brown said.
“The things that I’ve overcome in this country have made me a better person. I don’t think that we should take knees in protest … I think we should work out our problems.”