Trump was a no-show, but Gloria Estefan still got her Kennedy Center Honors

2017 Kennedy Center Honoree Gloria Estefan attends the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Washington.
2017 Kennedy Center Honoree Gloria Estefan attends the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Washington. Greg Allen/Invision/AP

Gloria Estefan was part of the select group of entertainers recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors for their contribution to the development of the arts in the United States.

The ceremony was held on Saturday at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

The list of award recipients included singer Lionel Richie, hip hop artist LL Cool J, television producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade.

Estefan is the first Cuban-American artist to receive the high distinction.

Gloria Estefan, Carmen de Lavallade, Norman Lear, Gloria Estefan, Rex Tillerson, Deborah F. Rutter, Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, David M. Rubenstein
Front row from left, 2017 Kennedy Center Honorees Carmen de Lavallade, Norman Lear, Gloria Estefan and Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter, back row from left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, 2017 Kennedy Center Honorees LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, and Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein are photographed following the State Department dinner for the Kennedy Center Honors, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf) Kevin Wolf AP

“This award is the best example of what immigrants can do to contribute to the richness of this country,” Estefan told the Nuevo Herald on Monday. “And in the personal sphere, it represents a way of honoring my father [José Fajardo, 1933-1980] who thanked President Kennedy shortly before he was assassinated, for having taken him out of prison in Cuba [after participating in the Bay of Pigs invasion].”

The 60-year-old singer emotionally added that the award also goes to her mother, Gloria Fajardo, who died in June.

On the decision of President Donald Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, not to attend the Kennedy Center event, the singer said: “I thought it was very sensible that President Donald Trump and his wife did not attend the ceremony. Otherwise, it would have become a political event and not an opportunity to pay homage to the artists.”

This is the first time in more than 20 years that a president has missed the annual celebration of artistic excellence. In August, the White House said that the presidential couple would decline the invitation so that the honorees could celebrate “without any political distraction.”

Estefan did not spend any more time talking about Trump. Instead, she is looking ahead to January when her musical “On Your Feet,” about her career beginnings with husband Emilio Estefan, “which is already being presented in the Netherlands,” will begin a run in Washington, D.C. And in 2018 she will record an album of Brazilian music.

“Christmas will be spent in Miami,” she concluded.

The ceremony will air on Tuesday, Dec. 26 on CBS, at 9 p.m.

Follow Arturo Arias-Polo on Twitter: @arturoariaspolo

Read More: Gloria and Emilio Estefan celebrate the opening of “On Your Feet” in Miami