The White House announced Saturday that President Donald Trump and Melania Trump have decided to skip the annual weekend celebrations of the Kennedy Center honors.
“The President and First Lady have decided not to participate in this year’s activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,” a statement from the White House read. (RELATED: ‘All In The Family’ Creator Boycotts Kennedy Center Event Because Of Trump)
“First Lady Melania Trump, along with her husband President Donald J. Trump, extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments,” it added.
Each year a handful of artists and performers are selected for their accomplishments and contributions to shaping the “cultural life in the United States” at the ceremony held in December.
Part of the celebration includes a gala at the White House for the honorees. Over the last few weeks, at least two performers have said they would not be attending because of the president, which includes “All In The Family” creator Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. The event has now been cancelled.
A third honoree, Lionel Richie, said on the “Today” show he was still weighing the idea of boycotting the ceremony, because he was “not really happy with what’s going on right now with the controversies.”
“On August 19, 2017, the White House announced that the President of the United States and the First Lady will not participate in 2017 Kennedy Center Honors activities,” a statement on the Kennedy Center’s website read.
“The Kennedy Center respects the decision made today by the office of the President of the United States. In choosing not to participate in this year’s Honors activities, the Administration has graciously signaled its respect for the Kennedy Center and ensures the Honors gala remains a deservingly special moment for the Honorees. We are grateful for this gesture.”