President Trump, First Lady to Skip Kennedy Center Honors Amid Boycotts
First Couple pulls out of traditional White House ceremony after multiple honorees protest
Thom Geier | Last Updated: August 19, 2017 @ 9:34 AM
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will skip this year’s Kennedy Center Honors after two of the five honorees announced plans to boycott the ceremony and traditional White House reception.
“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement released Saturday morning.
“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,” she added.
Since Trump has come under fire for his response to the deadly rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, two of this year’s honorees — TV producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — announced they would boycott the White House event scheduled for this December.
The awards program, honoring Americans who have made substantial contributions to the arts, is still scheduled to take place on Dec. 3 and will be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 26.
This is the latest sign of fallout from Trump’s widely criticized response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, for which he has repeatedly blamed “both sides” for violence that resulted in three deaths and dozens of injuries.