U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend the Kennedy Center Honors in December, the White House announced on Saturday, after several honorees said they would boycott a White House reception before the show. Jonah Green reports.
President Trump and first lady Melania will not be attending the annual Kennedy Center Honors amid a boycott by those who are to be honored at the December event. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announcing Saturday that the first family will not participate "to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction." The statement comes as some of the artists - including TV producer Norman Lear -- said they would boycott the White House reception related to the event-- as backlash against Trump's bungled response to the racist rallies in Charlottesville last weekend, which ended in the death of a counter protester. SOUNDBITE (English) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING "I think there's blame on both sides..." Those words spurring a string of departures. First, several business leaders resigned from two of Trump's business advisory councils --- forcing him to disband the groups. Then, all 16 members of his arts and humanities committee resigned -- slamming Trump's behavior in a letter saying "supremacy, discrimination and vitriol are not American values." And on Friday-- a member of the president's evangelical advisory board calling it quits--posting his resignation on Twitter. In an unrelated departure -- billionaire investor Carl Icahn-- an early and close ally to the president -- ended his role as a special adviser on Friday after facing criticism that policy recommendations he offered could help his own investments. Icahn has denied any conflict of interest and in a letter to Trump released on his website he wrote, "I chose to end this arrangement (with your blessing) because I did not want partisan bickering about my role to in any way cloud your administration."