Ronald Reagan was the last president to miss the White House Correspondents’ dinner in 1981, but the only reason was that he was recovering from an assassination attempt. He still phoned in to the event which is much more than President Donald Trump plans this year.
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
After months of bashing the media which has ratcheted up to a seething hatred with the White House now blocking select major media outlets who are relentlessly investigating his ties to Russia, his declining the event comes as no surprise to anyone. After calling several prominent and highly revered news outlets “fake news” and “the enemy of the American People!,” he knew the hits would come quickly with his attendance.
“That, of course, is something that the correspondents’ association and journalists reject,” WHCA President Jeff Mason said. “The media is an incredibly important part of a vibrant republic, and we celebrate that at that dinner.
“It’s up to him to decide whether or not he wants to come,” he said. “But the correspondents’ association and the members who work in this room every day will continue to do our job and write the news and tell the truth about this administration, as we have done about every administration before.”
“It would have been more ‘manning up’ if he just went and let the barbs fly,” a White House source said. “Take it like a man, and people would begin to have a little more respect for you, but sadly, that’s not who Donald Trump is.”
The black-tie dinner, which is a fundraiser for journalism scholarships, happens each spring and is typically attended by the president and first lady. There’s usually a comedian who roasts the president and then the president normally gives a humorous speech, giving him a chance to roast the press and any political opponents. This event is carried live on C-SPAN.
Trump was a regular fixture at the event but skipped the 2016 one as it came during the presidential campaign. Not to mention, President Barack Obama was the honored guest. He knew that there would be plenty of jokes aimed at him, and anyone who has worked with him knows he does not take kindly to that. I worked on a fundraiser that Trump did for Chuck Schumer at his Fifth Avenue abode and know very well how thin that skin is.
(FULL DISCLOSURE) I worked on a fundraiser that Trump did for Chuck Schumer at his Fifth Avenue abode and know very well how thin that skin is.
At one point Obama during the dinner told guests that Trump “has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world – Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan.”
2011 was a tough dinner for Trump as Obama lobbed joke after joke at him since he was a huge proponent of the birthers, which claimed Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.
Twitter reacted quickly to Trump’s announcement. Media outlets that had pulled out of this year’s event haven’t stated whether they will now attend with Trump not being there.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) February 25, 2017
seriously – u need to get help @realDonaldTrump
— ROSIE (@Rosie) February 25, 2017
HAHAHAHA WHAT A SNOWFLAKE https://t.co/8HGUEAzHSR
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 25, 2017
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) February 25, 2017
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) February 25, 2017
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 26, 2017
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) February 25, 2017
Trump is rsvp'ing "will not attend". https://t.co/MPfRxhuzJW
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) February 25, 2017
It is interesting that this event is for raising scholarship money for students, something that Trump has claimed is important for the future of our country.
Another White House source commented: “It’s a sad state when the president of the free world can’t do something to really help students because he’s afraid his ego might get bruised. This is why his numbers will continue to drop. If he doesn’t stop acting as if he’s above everybody else, including his supporters, the Oval Office will soon be a distant memory for him.”
WHCA President Jeff Mason made an official statement short after Trump’s Tweet: “The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.”
Donald Trump did release a White House video to America on Saturday beginning to talk about the end of Black History Month but turning it into a rally cry for Ben Carson.