Since its inception in 1978, the annual Kennedy Center Honors has celebrated the “extraordinary careers of five artists whose talent and ingenuity have enriched and shaped cultural life in America.” Traditionally, the White House hosts a reception prior to the show where the president congratulates each year’s honorees. But of course our current White House is far from “traditional,” and amidst the most recent of the administration’s many controversies — the one where our president found it shockingly difficult to condemn nazis — the Trumps have decided to cancel their planned event and appearance.
The decision follows three of the recipients — Lionel Richie, dancer Carmen de Lavallade, and television producer Norman Lear — announcing that they would boycott the White House reception. Of the other two awardees, LL Cool J hasn’t commented on whether he planned to attend, and Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan had hoped to influence the president’s immigration views during the ceremony.
The Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein and president Deborah F. Rutter released the following statement today in response to Trump’s cancellation:
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.
Much like in world of steaks and hotels, the Trump name continues to taint everything it touches.