President Trump and the first lady have pulled out of events for this year’s Kennedy Center Honors after a major backlash from artists over Trump’s remarks on last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville. The awards, scheduled for early December, have traditionally seen previous presidents play an active part and host a White House reception honoring the winners’ lifetime achievements in the arts. But a statement issued by the White House early Saturday said Trump and Melania had opted out of attending “to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” The announcement came after two of this year’s honorees said they would not attend a White House reception to mark the awards, and just a day after the entire membership of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities quit over Trump’s remarks on recent violence in Charlottesville. Dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, one of this year’s honorees, cited Trump’s “socially divisive and morally caustic rhetoric” in announcing her decision to boycott the event on Thursday. Television legend Normal Lear said earlier this month he’d boycott over the president’s proposed cuts to funding for the arts.