Saturday, August 19, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He earned the thanks of the nation's foremost arts and culture organization for his decision to stay away from them.

Trump announced today that, in a break with presidential tradition, he would not attend the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. The Center immediately released its own statement praising Trump for staying away and saying that it was "grateful for this gesture" that would allow the focus of the ceremony to stay on the awardees. In an echo of Trump's recent hemorrhaging from his advisory panels, several honorees had already announced that they would boycott the White House gala before the ceremony itself. These included television producer Norman Lear, musician Lionel Richie, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade

The White House's immediate fear seems to have been that Trump would do poorly in a public setting where he could not guarantee the audience would be supporters. The audience at the normally sedate event almost certainly would have been hostile to Trump. In his March budget proposal, Trump threatened to effectively zero out government support for the humanities, arts and art education, and public broadcasting.

Presidents have occasionally skipped the event in the past, but Trump is apparently the first to be thanked for his absence.

Who cares?

  • When you're getting thanked for not showing up to parties, you have a problem.