America is currently suffering through a presidency that has severely lowered the bar for respect and dignity. Donald Trump once promised that he could be “more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.” For some reason he exempted Lincoln, but not Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, or even Reagan. But he has failed to live up to that promise. In fact, he has made a mockery of the office and embarrassed the country before the whole world.
The shame with which Trump has tarred the nation extends beyond the boundaries of partisanship. A few Republicans are starting to tip-toe into direct criticism of the President. Albeit, they often can’t bring themselves to say his name. What’s more, Trump disbanded several of his advisory committees to staunch the flood of members resigning. Even worse (from Trump’s greedy perspective), charities and other organizations that have held events at his Mar-A-Lago resort are moving or canceling those events. To date sixteen have disassociated themselves from the Trump taint.
Now another indicator of just how toxic that association is has come to light. The annual Kennedy Center Honors will be held in Washington, D.C. in December. It’s an event that regularly features the participation of the President. However, this year several honorees have already stated that they would not attend the White House reception for the event. As that list grew longer the White House issued the following statement:
“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. 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.”
This is another case of Trump quitting something after he had already been rebuked and cast aside. His gargantuan ego needs to portray it as his idea to skip a party that no one wants him at. Earlier this year he ducked out of the White House Correspondents Dinner. He was the first presidential no-show in over thirty years. This is the Kennedy Center’s fortieth year, and only three times without a president in attendance. They usually had good reasons. For instance, Carter missed one year due to the Iranian hostage crisis.
Additionally, Trump’s excuse of avoiding a “political distraction” is absurd. If that were really his objective he would resign. Pretty much everywhere he goes he’s a political distraction. That’s why the only public events he attends are usually White House managed photo-ops or his campaign rallies. He doesn’t even allow the press at his golf resorts when he’s on vacation, which is most of the time.
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So the Kennedy Center Honors will go on as scheduled with a distinguished group of honorees. Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, LL COOL J, Norman Lear, and Lionel Richie, are all now expected to attend. And Trump’s absence will only make the affair more enjoyable and dignified. But the fact that the President of the United States is so obviously unwelcome at such a proud and non-political event just highlights the sad state of affairs that our nation is enduring. Donald Trump is too loathsome to even be in the audience. And recent polls that put him at a mere thirty-four percent approval rating (the lowest ever for a president at this point) show that the nation is just as repulsed.