President Donald Trump Bows Out of Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony

Donald Trump, Melania Trump President Donald
AP/REX/Shutterstock

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have decided to bow out of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, the White House said Saturday.

The decision comes after several of this year’s honorees — including Norman Lear and Lionel Richie — said they would skip the traditional White House reception that coincides with the December event in protest of Trump’s political agenda and his response to the white supremacist violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

“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. “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.”

The move is the latest sign of the backlash to Trump from the entertainment industry after his series of conflicting statements about the violence in Charlottesville that left a 32-year-old woman dead. After he insisted that leftist counter-protesters shared blame for the situation in Charlottesville and asserted that some participants in the rally were “fine people,” the condemnation from Hollywood as well as other sectors has been swift.

On Friday, members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned en masse in protest of his statements. So many prominent CEOs fled the White House’s business-related panels during the past week that Trump decided to disband them entirely.

The Kennedy Center Honors, now in its 40th year, are an annual fund-raising event for the non-profit performing arts organization. The prestigious award recognizes notable figures who have made significant contributions to arts. The President and first lady typically attend the glitzy Sunday night ceremony, which is broadcast later on CBS, and they have traditionally hosted a White House reception for the honorees before the event. The President and first lady also usually sit with the honorees at the ceremony itself.

In addition to Lear and Richie, this year’s recipients are Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. De Lavallade told the Washington Post earlier this week that she would not attend the White House reception “in light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in.”

The 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors will be held Dec. 3. CBS will air a two-hour special on Dec. 26.

Trump’s decision to skip the event is only the latest example of how he has bucked traditions. He passed up the White House Correspondents Association dinner in April, making him the first president to miss it since Ronald Reagan in 1981. Even then, Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt, and ended up calling into the dinner by phone.

The Kennedy Center said in a statement that another event that weekend, a dinner at the State Department on the night before the ceremony, will continue as planned.

The prospect of Trump’s participation risked making much of the coverage about the ceremony about the rift between the administration and artists, whether over some of the president’s actions or the administration’s proposal to eliminate federal arts funding.

“The Kennedy Center respects the decision made today by the office of the President of the United States,” the chairman of the Kennedy Center, David Rubenstein, and its president, Deborah Rutter, said in a statement. “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.”

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  1. Richard011545 says:

    After announcing the first family is bowing out of the Kennedy Center honors (similar to Washington Press dinner earlier in the year), the President noted that it would be for this year’s gala. What about the following years? With this avowed Racist’s rants and his advisory counsels (both the Arts and the Business) groups resigning at alarming speed, the WH has sunk into complete chaos.

    Unless from some divine intervention where his brain cells suddenly become reconnected, this “tiger” will never change his “spots.” His delusional rhetoric, white supremacist views (remember “the sins of the father are visited on the son) and resentment of the world’s varying cultures can never mesh with American values of inclusiveness. The recipients of these Kennedy Center awards for the “Arts” will have to go on many years without the President’s attendance not to be a “political distraction.”

    The distinguished careers of Americans will leave the President far behind for many more years as he wallows in the political morass of his creation.

  2. Barbara says:

    Take a look at the billions and billions china has invested in their infrastructure, that’s with OUR MONEY. !!! That’s with our industry that belongs here for our infrastructure, jobs that pay for it with income taxes.
    No jobs.
    No income tax.
    No revenue.
    No new infrastructure.
    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why we have a 20 trillion dollar deficit but nobody wants to admit they were wrong instead they waste their time with hate. That’s not making money. Fools.

  3. Art Anderson says:

    So Trump knows he’s not wanted at the Kennedy Center Event. He would do well to leave the White House and stop disgracing the previous inhabitants. He’s going to have to sooner or later. Why wait?

  4. Alex says:

    Where are the stories that begin with “Hollywood Reacts to Trump bowing out of KCO?” You’d think they’d have plenty to tweet about, it’s all George Takei does these days

  5. Barry. says:

    Funny how none of these rich people live in black neighborhoods.

  6. Jerry says:

    Time for a strike against going to movies. How dare Norman Lear hate speech and bully. Of all the advantages ha has had that society has allowed him. He’s scum.

  7. Ch Hoffman says:

    they have a scheduling conflict with a Klan rally where they’d feel more welcome

  8. Rudy Mario says:

    Kennedy Center can redeem itself by making D. TRUMP, an honoree next year for his scintillating contribution to TV and Radio arts for many many years through ” Apprentice”, TV interviews, radio talk shows (H. STERN),etc.
    Then D. TRUMP will attend and bestow the honorees while Ivanka can bestow her dad with his. Will be a rating hit on TV.

    • The Truth says:

      Get a grip, Rudy. The odds of Trump being designated a Kennedy Center honoree are only slightly less astronomical than his chances of winning the Pulitzer Prize for tweeting.

    • Rudy Mario says:

      Forgot to add this:

      Kennedy Center must also honor First Lade M. Trump. Hailing from an impoverished east European country, M Trump’s artistic modelling was a triumph. She also provided artistic services to many enriching our nation, specifically rich old white men.

  9. James says:

    “After he [Trump] insisted that leftist counter-protesters shared blame for the situation in Charlottesville and asserted that some participants in the rally were “fine people,” the condemnation from Hollywood as well as other sectors has been swift.”

    But, but…some of the right wing Americans ARE “fine people”.

    And the leftist counter-protesters “shared blame” indeed: Do you think they had all their weapons only to look dangerous ? They were very violent, too.

    • barbara a says:

      “LEFTIST COUNTER PROTESTERS”???????????
      You think that opposing naziism or the kkk makes you LEFT WING????? OMG you horrify me.

  10. Julie says:

    He’s too afraid to go. He knows that the nominees would speak out against him. He can only handle his little Trump bubble where everybody goose steps behind him and tells him what he wants to hear.

  11. Crystal Brooks says:

    For what? He’s done nothing to get in trouble over.

  12. Crystal Brooks says:

    Good for him. He hasn’t backed down from his beliefs and that’s great. This is much ado about nothing. He did denounce the racism. I agree with him that people from both sides are to blame. Watch the footage. The counter protesters chose to come to the rally and argue with the rally protesters who had a permit to be there. This is what happens when anger gets out of control. He did the right thing by pulling out. I never watch it. And I don’t care for the artists being honored and choosing not to come.

    • A. I. Garrett says:

      Agree!! Watch the footage!! Where would the liberal left performers be if they had not had the support of American audiences for the last 50+ years? Especially those being honored at this years Kennedy Center Awards? Over the past 40 years have never watched the show and don’t intend to start with this one. Glad they declined!! So sad that the left can’t accept President Trump and the most wonderful First Lady we have ever had; and we had to live 8 years with the their predecessors!! Never will see the appeal!! This reply will probably not be printed!!

    • Julie says:

      He hasn’t backed down from his beliefs? You mean the belief that some “very fine people” were marching with Nazis? Sorry, but very fine people don’t march with Nazis or other white supremacist trash.

  13. Jaddy Baddy says:

    To this day, that the South dare stand between
    the YSA and their dreams of world conquest,
    yet sticks in the Yankee’s craw.

    ISIS brooks no opposition.
    The Yankee brooks no opposition.

    You are the company that you keep.

    That you live in fear of statues, that you are
    frightened by an idea, exposes how truly
    fragile, weak and untenable your Union truly
    is.

  14. MyMuse311 says:

    Trump made the right choice to decline. No one wants him at this event….

  15. Isabel says:

    Trump, aka the fake commander in chief. Oh how thee counting the days to your resignation. There will be dancing in the streets.

  16. TERESA TALLENT GADDY says:

    PLEASE! Invite a REAL President and First Lady. Invite the Obamas or the Carters!

    • Barry. says:

      Your little pal the former pres screened all questions from the press. Now you can call him a coward.

      • Dan says:

        The paragraph answers that said nothing and talked about himself like a blohard. He was chicken the press would destroy him he never answered open questions he really never had a press conference only a planned speech with prescreened questions. Another lie. Poser posed to look like a press conference.

      • The Truth says:

        Thanks for this dispatch from an alternate universe.

    • Jason says:

      The creepy ones that left us a mess.

  17. rustyarmor says:

    How gracious of the sore losers to graciously accept the Presidents gracious recusal. It was a gracious Democrat event to begin with, in a facility graciously named after a Democrat, and they only want gracious Democrats there.
    Good gracious.

  18. Jason says:

    As one who has rarely missed the KCH, this news is a relief. For that obscene man to sit in the presence of greatness after he has so badly slammed talented people and whose clear racism a slap in the face of past and present inductees, he can stay away for good. It’s repulsive to even have thought that him sitting where great men and their wives rocked out to the music of Led Zepplin, or watching the story of Robert Redford, or enjoying the presenters was going to be okay. To even attend anything that has Kennedy’s name on it and believing he can even be in the company where presidents sat since 1978, its a travesty. Let him stay at Trump Tower. Let him stay there for the good of our nation…for good.

    • Tim says:

      Another idiot that has no idea how Kennedy was elected.
      And his coverup for what now would be
      negative news headlines.

      • Dan says:

        the bad press about him was quickly covered up. The dnc. The slavery backers in the south. same story as protecting illegals. Money and greed. Cheap labor.

      • The Truth says:

        It’s time to re-adjust your tin foil hat.

  19. Light Y says:

    Good- The Kennedy Center is in an acid trip for even CONSIDERING that p*ssy-grabbing son-of-a-wh*re, and his pigeon-faced wife anyway.

  20. cadavra says:

    Three blacks, a Latina and a Jew. No wonder he’s not showing up.

  21. Bill B. says:

    This foul creature did the right thing for a change, though I’m sure he did it for himself. He wasn’t wanted there and under the current circumstances, he didn’t belong there and I’m sure the trophy wife liked this decision as well. She clearly despises the presidential spotlight she has been put in and avoids as much as possible. The prenup must be a tough one.

  22. Steve Barr says:

    Trump is not going because like all bullies he is a coward . Maybe he could start his own awards . We could call it the fascist fat clown awards and he and his trophy wife would be the first honorees .

    • Kaboom! says:

      Trump is not going because the liberals attending are hateful racist hypocrites. Maybe he could start his own awards. We could call it the “Liberals Are Liars” awards.

      • andreiib says:

        Yeah he could, but considering that he lies about every two words, that might fall flat. Did you hear his one about Pershing this week?

  23. Yours Truly says:

    He is such a complete loser. I hope after being President NO TELEVISION STATION puts any show of his on the TV. I know if they do, I will lead the boycott of that entire station. I want the TRUMP family to go away. They should move to Russia where they love. Did I mention how much of a loser Trump is. He literally makes me sick.

  24. Alex says:

    Now watch the swamp people complain that he’s NOT showing up, it may piss them off that he doesn’t want to go to their parties…and be mocked.

  25. CJB says:

    DT and supporters, what a collection of douchebags.

  26. geri313 says:

    It’s about time President Trump did something right. Bravo Mr. President, and now may I and suggest you resign.

    • Yours Truly says:

      Because we want TRUMP OUT. He will NEVER make America better. He is running all of us through the dumpster. Don’t you realize. It has begun and there is no turning back. He will be impeached and the entire world is behind us. There will never be ONE good day in his Presidency. There are millions and millions of people around the world now that are doing all we can to make sure he gets OUT. We will never work with him. Not one day. Not one moment. He is such a disgusting loser. He makes me sick.

    • Sam says:

      Why don’t we save all this negative bickering and work together to resolve the 20 trillion dollar deficit. Oh that’s painful. Or the 100 million citizens without jobs. Or and end to illegal sanctuary states protecting illegals and felons living off our taxpayers and only increasing the deficit. or the illegal act of judges choosing a dictate that is personal and out of the scope of their job description by allowing violent foreign visitors that end up staying here illegally, there are no protections in place. Take a weekend instead of vacationing to volunteer to help build the wall that will protect us from drug smugglers and traffickers.
      TOO much WORK ? No it’s easier to hate and be a critic.

      • The Truth says:

        Take a weekend for a mental health evaluation.

      • Frank says:

        I agree.

      • plukasiak says:

        well, first off, we’ve already resolved the 20 trillion dollar deficit. Bill Clinton had surpluses so big that the biggest economic campaign issue in 2000 was what to do with all the extra money (Shrub — tax cuts for the rich, Gore — infrastructure) But then morons like you voted for Bush, who brought even worse deficits back. So now its your turn — and since you control both houses of Congress, I suggest you get crackin’

  27. John Taylor says:

    While the Kennedy Center Honors are bizarre this year anyway, with LL Cool J getting an award for some reason, Mr. Trump has the right idea. Avoid everything. Stay in his safe place. The Phoenix rally on Tuesday will put the Kennedy Center show to shame and that Trump Ego will be recharged for another week of Trump catastrophes.

  28. Kate says:

    President and first lady made correct decision. Entertainment world is so gainst Trump from the beginning. How many americans cares and watch the show? How many americans care the Hollywood? How many people care their political agenda? How can our country be strong if we are so socially devided? Who cares about skin color and race? Today’s Americans are the mixture of all kind of races and cultures. We bong to human race and the same mother earth. Please close your own narrow vision and make an united vision for all americans and world.

  29. Gracious & sound gesture so the honorees can have there moment without distractions. Now let’s hope there is no Trump Twitter backlash.

    • John Taylor says:

      Kate, 70% of the American people are disgusted by Trump. It’s not just the entertainment industry. You must have missed the news about the country’s CEO’s dumping Trump.

      • Hiosser says:

        Yeah, and 90 percent were voting for Hillary. Remember that poll?

      • Sam says:

        Youuuu must have missed the news the CEOs that ran like chicken little were left overs from the former regime promoting police hatred.
        The didn’t vote for trump they should have left in nov.

  30. Alex says:

    I wonder if Samantha Bee will do the “Not the Kennedy Center Awards?” it will get plenty of hype and will suck.

  31. Hiosser says:

    If I were Trump, I would not honor these hypocrites either.

    • Sam says:

      Agree. What a small minded act and perhaps their own families are ashamed of them stealing the show from the other guests and making it about themselves. Ohhh they’re from Hollywood.
      The entertainers. Hahaha.

      • Toni says:

        Time for a strike against going to movies. How dare Norman Lear hate speech and bully. Of all the advantages ha has had that society has allowed him. He’s scum.

  32. furtive says:

    Jews in Hollywood are so self-destructive. Trump has orthodox Jewish grandchildren.

    Their generous liberal policies have put the country into Near bankruptcy,
    Because the man wants to prevent that, they despise him.

    How ignorant & self-absorbed you insulared self-aggrandizing snobs are?

    Liberals are the bigoted ill-educated mentally depraved fascists

  33. cowgirldiva says:

    President Trump condemned the White Supremacists as well as the Neo- Nazis in the strongest terms possible…!! Naturally, his words are ALWAYS twisted by the Lame Stream Media…!! When he said that there were good people attending the rally, he was talking about the original group who applied for and received a permit to peacefully demonstrate against the removal of the Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee as well as peacefully demonstrate against the REMOVAL of OUR AMERICAN HISTORY…!!

    Of, course President Trump is not a White Supremacists or a Neo-Nazi and anyone who thinks he is, is plain and simple, an antiAmerican ANARCHIST…!! The American people are not stupid and we see what is going on here…!! The RAW HATE from the people who would like to see our nation destroyed is appalling and we are sick and tired of the leftist bullying and lies…!!

    • plukasiak says:

      Trump isn’t a white supremacist. He’s an orange supremacist.

      On November 22, 2015, Donald Trump proved that he was a blatant racist by telling his followers an obvious lie that had its origins on a white nationalist website –that 81% of white murder victims were killed by black people. The “statistic” is so absurd that only a stone racist would fail to question it, and only someone promoting racism would repeat it. And only the worst of the worst would refuse to correct the record, and apologize for disseminating such racist lies.

      So stop with the “not a white supremacist” nonsense — when you’re repeating white supremacist lies, you’ve earned that label.

    • jane says:

      Oh you mean the group that said “death to Jews” and freely used the Nazi salute and wore paraphernalia of Nazi and white supremacist groups. That “nice” group. You of course twisted it to lay blame at innocent people and be blinded to the hatred that the person in the white house espouses. The Germans had the good sense to get rid of their Nazi symbols.

      The people who started the Civil War were traitors and tried to destroy the US in order to keep slavery. That is not a part of history that should be glorified and General Lee himself said that there should be no monuments to the Confederacy, so I would agree with him on this point. But, of course that part is forgotten by those who want to continue with hate and fear, which the occupant of the white house wants. If he ad the courage of his convictions, he would not have fired Bannon and he would come to this event but fear and being a consumant whiner makes him stay home and whine under his white hood.

      • macd says:

        Thank you, Jane. I’d like to add that I think the day will come, sooner than even Herr Trump is unaware of, that a member of his very own family will prove to be this lunatic’s undoing. And just who might this hero be? Consider the fact that Melania, who appears to be a classy, compassionate lady, is raising young Barron, and in only a few years, this understandably solemn-looking child will mature into a similarly compassionate, intelligent teenager as revolted and disgusted by his cretinous father’s abominations as the rest of us. Barron is very much his mother’s son, not his father’s, and as a rightfully rebellious teenager, will nail his wretched narcissistic “father” to the wall. Of course, he’ll be disowned by his monstrous daddy, who will no doubt blame Barron’s decency on his trophy wife and will send her packing too. But there’s a silver lining here, as Melania will pocket a fortune from the tell-all autobiography she’ll now be able to write. Does this sound like wishful thinking on my part? Or course it does, but please keep one thing in mind: Stranger things have happened! (And one of them is the fact that somehow a vain, isolated, loathsome sociopath became POTUS . . . albeit for a very short period of time!).

      • Sam says:

        The losers just keep trying to justify their humiliation at losing to an outsider that’s how much Americans are feed up with politicians destroying our country while living off the public money enabling taking payola for donors benefits.
        How disgusted we all are over Benghazi bozo and uranium and hati fraud these people should be eradicated from society like the nazi were no they still are perpetrating this hate with their private backers fearing they will loose their precious stolen money. The hrc family foundation not for profit like so many others run by an insider /kid taking an exploitive salary for their own benefit. Disgusting. People are disgusted and this media lies to protect them out of FEAR.

      • Joyce Tyler says:

        You are correct on all counts, Jane. Thank you for posting. Reading the posts prior to yours made me think I’d time-traveled to Nazi Germany.

  34. helenk3 says:

    more protest over him telling the truth, both sides were wrong , then there is over the violence itself. says a lot about those people. guess they are not the sharpest people in the shed

    • Silent Velcro says:

      The “truth” here is that there are no BOTH SIDES in this debate. Racism and anti-Semitism and bigotry are wrong and should be confronted and condemned in no uncertain terms.

      • Tim says:

        Oh sort of like the rich persons nanny and gardeners that barely speak English because they are illegals/foreigners.
        Yah racists as long as it’s not their servants.

  35. Sc says:

    As much as all the actors find it deplorable that Trump called out both sides. I find it deplorable how the media and celebrities have a selective memory when it comes to the senseless killings of police officers , and senseless assaults by Antifa. Very easy to focus and point fingers, hyprocitices.

  36. Michael anthony says:

    COWARD!

    • James says:

      Exactly. Just an excuse. He loves to be the center of attention and having to be a gracious host to anyone but Nazi sympathizers and white supremacists would kill him. Spineless. SAD!

  37. The Truth says:

    If you’re so concerned about bullying and hate speech, look no further than Donald Trump.

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