Persona non grata: Trump, first lady to skip Kennedy Center Honors over concerns of ‘political distraction’

The Washington Post reports: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have elected not to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among those who will be feted at the event.

The first family will not participate “to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Saturday morning.

The announcement comes as three of the five honorees — television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — said they would boycott the traditional White House reception related to the celebration. As for the other two, rapper LL Cool J has not said whether he would attend, and Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan said she would go to try to influence the president on immigration issues. [Continue reading…]

Whether by accident or intention, it’s extraordinary that a White House press secretary would deploy the phrase political distraction in reference to the presence of the president — a phrase that most commonly appears in mealy-mouthed resignation letters when public figures are attempting to gloss over the embarrassing circumstances in which they had no choice but to quit or get fired.

While impeachment provides Congress with the legal mechanism for removing a president, there is also a social and political mechanism that may have never been tried before but would surely be just as effective yet much more swift: the ostracization of the president — it has already begun and is gathering momentum.

As more and more influential organizations and individuals publicly make it clear that they do not want to be associated with Trump and he is increasingly recognized as an irredeemably toxic figure in American society, the pressure increases on the loyal officeholders who currently keep him in power.

Resignations of cabinet members, if and when they come, may start with just one — Nikki Haley perhaps — and then there will be a collective reckoning: Either ranks close or there will be a rush to the exits.

The Trump presidency may end, not after protracted investigations and Congressional hearings, but in a single day when Donald Trump finds himself with no one to turn to except his dutiful family members.

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