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Kennedy Center Honors Go On Without Trump

Image: Kennedy Center Honors Go On Without Trump

Front row from left, 2017 Kennedy Center honorees Carmen de Lavallade, Norman Lear, Gloria Estefan and Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter, back row from left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, honorees LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, and Chairman David M. Rubenstein following the State Department dinner for the Kennedy Center Honors, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

By    |   Monday, 04 December 2017 12:24 PM

The Kennedy Center Honors gala went on Sunday without President Donald Trump, the first time in more than 20 years that a president skipped the annual artistic excellence celebration in Washington, D.C., according to CNN.

Bill Clinton was the last president to skip the event in 1994, according to CNN. The White House announced in August that Trump and first lady Melania Trump would not attend so the honorees could celebrate "without any political distractions," the broadcaster said.

There was a dinner Saturday at the State Department before the main event Sunday, but no pre-gala celebration at the White House, the Kennedy Center said on its website. The gala will air on CBS on Dec. 26, CNN wrote.

The honorees included legendary producer Norman Lear, who has been a constant critic of Trump and had threatened not to attend a White House event, CNN said.

Other honorees included choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, and rapper LL Cool J.

"I'm thankful he chose not to come," Estefan said about the president's decision, according to USA Today. "All it does is overshadow the accomplishments of people who spent a lifetime trying to do something."

De Lavallade, who had also threatened to boycott an event at the White House after Trump's comments on white supremacist marches in Charlottesville in August, told USA Today she felt good about her decision.

"This is the first time in my life I said no, and something in my soul, I've never felt that before — said no, no more," de Lavallade, the Yale Repertory Theatre instructor, told the newspaper.

Others, though, stayed away from politics. Some pointed out that LL Cool J, who has transitioned into acting, was the first rap artist ever honored by the Kennedy Center, USA Today noted.

"I think it's about the love the culture," LL Cool J, whose real name is James Todd Smith, told USA Today. "I want hip-hop to be remembered as a unifying force. I'm coming in here and I'm representing and it's going to be unity and music and love and art and dance and TV."

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The Kennedy Center Honors gala went on Sunday without President Donald Trump, the first time in more than 20 years that a president skipped the annual artistic excellence celebration in Washington, D.C.
kennedy center, honors, trump
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2017-24-04
Monday, 04 December 2017 12:24 PM
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