President Donald Drumpf and his wife, First Lady Melania Drumpf 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. The center seemed relieved by the president's decision, saying in a statement, "We are grateful for the gesture".
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will skip the Kennedy Center Honors, one of the nation's highest-profile event honoring performing artists, after some awardees threatened to boycott a pre-ceremony reception at the White House.
A Kennedy Center official said this will be the fourth time a President chose to not attend the event.
Traditionally, the honorees are received at the White House before the event, but Trump has had a fraught relationship with the American art world and this year two of them declined to join in the reception.
The Kennedy Center Honors have always been about prestige, not politics - but this year, as the newest batch of honorees ponder the first such celebration to be held under the Trump administration, several are finding it hard to set politics aside.
"Of course, I'm accepting the honors".
On Thursday, dancer Carmen de Lavallade said in a statement on her website that she was honored to receive the award, but would not join Trump at the White House. "It represents the Arts and Humanities which mean everything to me", Lear tweeted.
Richie was asked if he would attend the event in the wake of Lear's flat-out refusal to appear at the ceremony and Estefan's caveat that she would consider going if President Trump agreed to sit down with her and discuss immigration.
Representatives for the remaining honorees - hip-hop artist LL Cool J, who had not yet said whether he would show up at the White House, and singer Lionel Richie, who described himself as a maybe - did not respond to requests for comment. I'm banking on the goodness and the optimism of people to say: 'You know what?
Richie had said he had not yet decided if he would attend, while Estefan had vowed to go in the hopes of trying to persuade Trump on the value immigrants bring to United States culture, the Post reported.