The Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honors

Further complicating the issue was the fact that the Kennedy Center would have to find entertainers willing to take part in the show, taping December 3rd, should Trump and First Lady Melania have made a decision to be present in the presidential booth, as per tradition. Ostensibly the reason the POTUS and FLOTUS are skipping out is to keep the attention on the artists being honored for their lifetime achievements, a gesture that the chair of the event has thanked them for in an official statement.

Past presidents and first ladies have hosted a White House reception in the hours before the Kennedy Center gala, which they would then watch from seats high above the stage.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have elected not to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among those who will be feted at the event.

This year's honorees include Lear and Richie, as well as Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J and dancer Carmen de Lavallade.

The White House announced on Saturday morning that Trump and Melania will not atend the reception that is traditonally held in the White House after the awards ceremony to avoid "poitical distraction", according to The Washington Post.

The president belatedly condemned the hate groups that planned the event and equated counterprotesters with the white nationalists, saying "both sides" were to blame. Concerned about being aligned with Mr. Trump, business leaders on the Strategic and Policy Forum agreed to disband earlier this week.

"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", Lavallade, 86, said in a statement.

And on Friday, all 16 members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in protest of Mr. Trump's comments.

Forays by the president outside the White House have typically been to Trump-branded properties, including the nearby Trump International Hotel or his golf course in nearby Sterling, Virginia. "We can not sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.".

But Trump has long had a contentious relationship with the arts world and some of the Kennedy Center honorees already had said they would not attend the White House reception in December.