The White House, on Saturday announced that U.S president, Donald Trump, and the First Lady, Melania, will not attend this year’s Kennedy Center Honors after several of the honorees said they will boycott the event if Trump attends.
The planned boycott, an unprecedented move by honorees against a sitting president, places much focus on the ‘divide’ being created by the current administration with the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying in a statement that the first couple would not “participate in this year’s activities” in order to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.”
The full statement by the White House reads;
Each year, the Kennedy Center honors the careers and achievements of artists who have helped shape cultural life in the United States with a weekend that includes celebrations and events.
The award recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions in the arts and the positive change they have made all over the world.
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.’
Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein and President Deborah F. Rutter said in a statement, “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.”