11 Famous People Who Received White House Invites And Said, "Thanks But No Thanks"

11 Famous People Who Received White House Invites And Said, "Thanks But No Thanks"

1.This week, Chappell Roan performed at NYC's Governors Ball dressed as the Statue of Liberty. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free," she said, reciting lines from the poem displayed on the monument. "That means freedom in trans rights, that means freedom in women's rights...and it especially means freedom for all oppressed people in occupied territories."

A performer dressed as the Statue of Liberty with a star headpiece and intricate makeup poses with one arm raised, holding a microphone
Marleen Moise / Getty Images

After changing outfits, the singer said, "In response to the White House, who asked me to perform for Pride. We want liberty, justice, and freedom for all. When you do that, that’s when I’ll come."

I don't know who this is. Person with red curly hair in an elaborate teal outfit with lace and beaded details, posing at a Universal Music Group event
Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

2.After the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championships in 2017, former President Donald Trump invited the team to the White House. At a press conference, Steph Curry said he didn't want to go. When asked about the intended message, he replied, "That we don’t stand for basically what our president has … the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it. And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to."

Stephen Curry wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey, mid-action on the basketball court, with a crowd in the blurred background
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

Trump quickly tweeted that visiting the White House is a "great honor," and he rescinded the invitation.

Donald Trump / Twitter: @realDonaldTrump

After that, many people chimed in with their thoughts, including Lebron James. The athlete called Trump a "bum" and said visiting the White House was a great honor until he took office.

LeBron James / Twitter: @KingJames

3.When Trump invited Elton John to perform at his 2016 inauguration, the singer declined. According to Esquire, Elton attended an AIDS conference and said the idea of Trump becoming Commander in Chief made him "fear for the world." He added, "If Donald Trump gets to be president, he'll marginalize people. He's already doing it."

Elton John sits in front of a piano, wearing a blue suit and red-tinted glasses, with a colorful geometric background and people dancing behind him
Jmenternational / JMEnternational for BRIT Awards / Getty Images

4.At the 2012 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice awards, One Direction met Michelle Obama, who was so impressed by the boy band that she invited them to the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll. They declined the invitation as the holiday celebration coincided with their Australian tour.

Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles at the iHeartRadio event, standing together and smiling at the camera

5.In 2016, America's Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho was announced as a singer at Trump's inauguration. Her mother told TMZ that Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli would also perform — though the outlet later reported that she'd "jumped the gun" as he hadn't formally committed yet. The backlash was swift and severe, with "Boycott Bocelli" trending online. Page Six reported that Andrea declined to perform due to the widespread criticism.

Andrea Bocelli, dressed in a formal black tuxedo, smiles while singing into a microphone during a performance
Francesco Prandoni / Getty Images

6.In November of last year, Rupi Kaur was invited to a Diwali event hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris. On Twitter, the poet shared a letter declining the invitation. "I’m surprised this administration finds it acceptable to celebrate Diwali, when their support of the current atrocities against Palestinians represent the exact opposite of what this holiday means to many of us."

Rupi Kaur speaks at a podium, dressed in a colorful, geometric-patterned crop top and puffed sleeves outfit, with hair pulled back

"As a community, we cannot remain silent or agreeable just to get a seat at the table. It comes at too high a cost to human life."

Mauricio Santana / Getty Images

"We must be brave. We must not be tokenized by their photo-ops. The privilege we lose from speaking up is nothing compared to what Palestinians lose each day because this administration rejects a ceasefire."

Rupi Kaur / Twitter: @rupikaur_

7.After Trump invited Rebecca Ferguson to sing at his inauguration, the X Factor runner-up tweeted that she would only do it if she could perform "Strange Fruit." Rebecca wrote, "[It's] a song that has huge historical importance, a song that was blacklisted in the United States for being too controversial. A song that speaks to all the disregarded and down trodden Black people in the United States. A song that is a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world."

A woman poses confidently at an event, wearing a stylish pink and white patterned suit, matching skirt, white gloves, and a large white bow in her hair
Carlos Jasso / AFP via Getty Images

A week later, she announced that she would not perform because she wasn't comfortable with the administration's song choice. "Although I'm very blessed to have a gift that gives me amazing opportunities, as a mother and an artist, I had to defend my stance... I requested to sing 'Strange Fruit' as I felt it was the only song that would not compromise my artistic integrity and also as somebody who has a lot of love for all people, but has a special empathy as well for African American people and the #blacklivesmatter movement, I wanted to create a moment of pause for people to reflect."

Alicia Keys performs on stage wearing an elegant white dress with ruffled details and a statement hair accessory
C Brandon / Redferns

8.In 2021, Dolly Parton told Today that Trump offered her the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice, but she turned it down both times. "I couldn't accept it because my husband was ill, and then they asked me again about it, and I wouldn't travel because of the COVID." The singer shared that she's heard from President Joe Biden about the award, too. "Now I feel like if I take it, I'll be doing politics, so I'm not sure."

Dolly Parton, dressed in a sparkly vest and white shirt, smiles while holding a patterned acoustic guitar

"But I don't work for those awards. It'd be nice but I'm not sure that I even deserve it. But it's a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it," she concluded.

Valerie Macon / Getty Images

9.After the Chicago Bulls won the NBA championship in 1991, the team visited the White House to shoot hoops on the South Lawn with former President George H. W. Bush. Michael Jordan didn't show up, and a story circulated that he missed the event due to a scheduled family vacation. According to Yahoo, the athlete actually went golfing with James 'Slim' Bouler.

Michael Jordan smiling in a blazer with a black shirt at a public event

Michael lost $57,000 betting on golf and wrote Slim a check, which was seized by the federal government when Slim was investigated and later convicted for money laundering.

Aurelien Meunier / Getty Images

10.After the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017, Tom Brady didn't join his teammates at the White House. In a statement, the athlete wrote, "Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remember. In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters." His mother was reportedly sick at the time, and he decided to spend time with her instead.

Tom Brady at an event, wearing a black leather jacket over a white top, smiling. The backdrop has the text "80 for Brady."

Tom did not attend White House celebrations when the Patriots won the 2015 Super Bowl either.

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

11.And finally, Patriot defensive end Chris Long also chose not to visit the White House in 2017. He told Green Stripe News, "(When) my son grows up — and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is — I don’t want him to say, 'Hey Dad, why’d you go when you knew the right thing was to not go?'"

Chris Long, wearing a headset and gray blazer, smiles while seated behind a broadcast desk
Cindy Ord / Getty Images for SiriusXM

The following year, Chris further explained his decision on Twitter. He expressed outrage over Trump saying there were "very fine people on both sides" after the Charlottesville attack, when a domestic terrorist drove his car into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white supremacist rally, killing one woman and injuring 19 others. Chris wrote, "Who were the fine people on the side of the Nazis and KKK that gathered in my hometown the day a terrorist put 20 ppl in the hospital? Why reference the hatred and bigotry on 'many sides' that day? Why didn’t you immediately denounce them?"

A football player with eye black, wearing a helmet and Patriots jersey featuring the number 50, looking upwards during a game

He continued, "The lack of condemnation of said groups is either a calculated omission to pander to an ugly corner of our country OR he agrees with those folks. Either way, no convo needed."

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Any other celebs who've declined White House invitations? Share them in the comments below.