WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 4: President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and the honorees listen to the US National Anthem during the Kennedy Center Honors show December 4, 2016 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)
Joy Johnston, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
The White House announced in a statement Saturday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend this year's Kennedy Center Honors.
The statement said that the president made the decision to not participate to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” The statement said the president and first lady “extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments.”
The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual tradition. Past presidents and first ladies host a reception for honorees at the White House before the Kennedy Center gala and attend the televised event.
One of this year's honorees, television writer and producer Norman Lear, had announced he was skipping the White House reception due to Trump, and other honorees also planned to boycott the reception, the Washington Post reported.