- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 19, 2017

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have decided to skip this year’s Kennedy Center honors events because they don’t want to cause a “political distraction,” the White House announced Saturday.

The arts awards are traditionally hosted by the president and first lady and past ceremonies included a White House reception.

“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,” it said.

The announcement comes amid turmoil at the White House, a day after the resignation of Mr. Trump’s political strategist, Steve Bannon, and continued fallout over the president’s response to deadly violence at a white nationalists protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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