The Kennedy Center Honors has always been considered one of Washington’s great attractions.

We were pleased to read that “political chatter was kept to a minimum” Sunday night during the tributes at the Kennedy Center.

But leave it to Linda Ronstadt to ensure that a nasty, anti-Trump note made it into the evening. 

Ronstadt, one of those being honored this year, insulted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the dinner the secretary of state traditionally hosts for the KC honors.

It was in the State Department’s diplomatic reception rooms that the undiplomatic incident took place.

Variety describes the incident:

Pompeo, an embattled protector of President Trump, was enjoying his first turn as official host of the event. During the pre-dinner welcoming address, he quipped: “As I travel the world, I wonder when will I be loved,” invoking the words of Ronstadt’s 1975 hit “When I Be Loved,” penned by Phil Everly.

Ronstadt has been an outspoken critic of Trump. When it came her turn following dinner to receive the honor and make optional remarks, Ronstadt rose to the microphone a few feet away from the host’s table and looked straight ahead. “I’d like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he’ll be loved, it’s when he stops enabling Donald Trump.” Then she sat down.

The line drew immediate gasps from the audience, followed by slowly building applause, and then cheers.

The initial gasps were the better reaction. It would have been no imprimatur for the Trump administration if Ronstadt had simply accepted the award graciously and let politics alone for an evening.

I suspect people who behave this way feel they are being brave, even though they know that their supposed bravery will be hailed instantly. As happened to Ronstadt.

In response to Ronstadt’s rudeness, Sally Field’s son Sam Greisman tweeted this:

At the State Dept. dinner for the Kennedy Center honorees Mike Pompeo wondered aloud when he would be “loved”. Then Linda Ronstadt got up to get laurels, looked the f-cker right in the eye and said “maybe when you stop enabling Donald Trump”. Icon.

Yes, this is the way the elite talks now. Charming, no?

If Ronstadt had taken the award and behaved like an adult, it would have showed that in a divided country we can still be cordial to each other.

But that apparently just isn't the case.