President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, on the grounds of the White House last month. They will not participate in this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.
WASHINGTON — The White House announced early Saturday that President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, would not participate in this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, “to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.”
Some of those to receive the award, which honors lifetime careers in art, music, dance, film, television and culture, had already said they would not attend a gala event at the White House held in conjunction with the official presentation.
The dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, who is among those to be honored by the Kennedy Center in December, announced on Thursday that she would forgo the related reception at the White House.
“In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House,” Ms. de Lavallade, 86, said in a statement.
Another honoree, Norman Lear, a television producer known for progressive political activism, had said he would not attend the White House reception before the ceremony where he is to receive an award for lifelong artistic achievement.
“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 White House statement on Saturday said. “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.”