WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) – US President Donald Trump will not participate in this year’s Kennedy Center Honors ceremony dedicated to achievements in the fields of art, music, dance, film, television and culture areas, the White House said in a statement on Saturday.
Earlier this week, some of the honorees, including TV producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade, announced they would skip the event set for December after Trump’s remarks in connection with violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“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 statement reads.
According to the statement, the US president and first lady Melania Trump sincerely congratulated this year’s award recipients.
Last week, white nationalists held a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest authorities’ plans to remove a monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park. The rally subsequently led to clashes with left wing counter-protestors and culminated in a car-ramming attack that killed one person and injured 19 others. Commenting on the events, Trump hesitated to condemn the white supremacists and instead spoke about racism and bigotry on “many sides.”
However, on Monday, Trump condemned white supremacists and other hate groups for the events in Charlottesville.