White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement on Saturday, which revealed Trump’s decision to sit out the ceremony. Honorees include legendary TV writer/producer Norman Lear, NCIS Los Angeles star LL Cool J, multi-platinum recording artists Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan and dancer Carmen de Lavallade.
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. 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.
Lear had previously announced his decision not to attend the Kennedy Center Honors, telling NPR on Aug. 5 that he “cannot celebrate this incredible honor… at a White House that has no interest in supporting the Arts and Humanities.” On Aug. 17, de Lavallade announced that she, too, would boycott the Trump-attended event.
“The Kennedy Center respects the decision made today by the office of the President of the United States,” David M. Rubenstein and Deborah F. Rutter, Chairman and President of the Kennedy Center, said in a joint statement. “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.”
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Trump’s decision to skip the Kennedy Center Honors comes just one day after all members of POTUS’ Committee on the Arts and Humanities — including Designated Survivor‘s Kal Penn — formally announced their resignation:
The Kennedy Center Honors is not the first major televised event that POTUS has decided not to attend. In February, he announced he would skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which was held on April 29. The event ultimately went on without him, hosted by The Daily Show‘s Hasan Minhaj.
What do you think of President Trump and First Lady Melania’s decision not to attend the Kennedy Center Honors?