expand Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors amid boycott threat; center is "grateful"
2017 – Kennedy Center(WASHINGTON D.C.) — President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will skip the Kennedy Center Honors, one of the nation’s highest-profile events honoring performing artists, after some awardees threatened to boycott a pre-ceremony reception at the White House.
The White House announced Saturday that the Trumps would not participate in the December 3 event in Washington, D.C. to avoid “political distraction.”
“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,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, adding that the president and Melania Trump “extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments.”
The Kennedy Center said that in addition to the Trumps’ not attending, the traditional pre-ceremony reception at the White House was cancelled this year. The center seemed relieved by the president’s decision, saying in a statement, “We are grateful for the gesture.”
“The Kennedy Center respects the decision made by today by the president,” read the statement tweeted by the center. “In choosing not to participate … the administration has graciously signaled its respect for the Kennedy Center and ensures the Honors gala remains a deservingly special moment for the honorees.”
The White House announcement follows reports that honoree Norman Lear, creator of such iconic TV shows as All in the Family, said he would accept the award this year but not attend the White House reception in protest of the president’s proposed funding cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Other 2017 honorees including Lionel Ritchie and Gloria Estefan have also suggested they were considering not attending.
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