Trump’s Absence at the Kennedy Center Honors

This past August, Donald Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump would not be attending the Kennedy Center Honors. Just for clarification, Jimmy Carter, George H.W Bush, and Bill Clinton are the only other presidents who have not attended this ceremony. Unlike President Trump however, these past leaders had legitimate reasons for not attending. Apparently, the current president wanted to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.”
There are several problems with his unwillingness to attend the ceremony. The first being that this ceremony honors performing artists for their contributions to American culture through various mediums, ranging from dancing to acting. Despite the divisions and tensions that have bogged down the morale of American society, America at its heart, is a diverse nation. This event reinstills that belief in viewers and participants alike. Choosing to ignore an event that is committed to celebrating said diversity demonstrates that President Trump does not value culture to the extent that past leaders of America have. Not bothering to attend exposes an apathetic attitude towards respecting the everchanging and eccentric culture of the very nation he is supposed to be leading.
Some honorees like LL Cool J threatened to boycott the ceremony if the president were to attend, which I find to be problematic in the sense that it discourages political discussion amongst well-known influencers. Nonetheless, these threats are completely understandable, considering the likely possibility that attendees would not have wanted a night about celebrating culture to be weighed down by a president who constantly fails to respect culture.
On this same note, it is highly likely that President Trump’s attendance would have maybe even infuriated other attendees who are directly affected by his political ideologies and plans for reform. Perhaps his attendance, combined with the social status of influential attendees and honorees, could have ignited the necessary political discussions that America needs in order to improve. Although not attending this event was a poor choice on his behalf, President Trump should not make this lack of involvement and enthusiasm a habit. A president who fails to initiate conversation by avoiding confrontation with people of differing political viewpoints is completely counterproductive to the role a leader.