WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House has announced that President Donald Trump and the first lady have decided not to participate in events honoring recipients of this year's Kennedy Center arts awards.
The statement says the decision to break with tradition was made to "allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction."
Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein and President Deborah Rutter say in a statement that they respect President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a traditional White House reception for the five honorees. The White House reception had been scheduled for Dec. 3.
Rubenstein and Rutter say a State Department reception and awards dinner on Dec. 2 and the Honors Gala on Dec. 3 will continue as planned.
They say the five honorees - Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, LL COOL J, Norman Lear and Lionel Richie - are expected to attend both events.
Past presidents and first ladies have hosted a reception for honorees at the White House before the Kennedy Center gala and sat with them at the televised event.
The decision comes a day after the entire membership of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned to protest Trump's comments about last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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.
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