“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,” the White House 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.”
Several of the honorees had already announced that they would be boycotting the event because of the current political climate.
Dancer Carmen de Lavallade told The Washington Post that she would not attend the ceremony “in light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in.”
The chairman and president of the Kennedy Center issued a statement on the Trumps not attending, saying they respect the decision and are “grateful for this gesture.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has broken with tradition; he also chose not to attend this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner.
There have been no announcements yet if Trump’s announcement to not attend has changed the honorees decisions.