Reporters are gathering for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner in Washington Saturday night while President Trump holds a competing campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Although presidents have traditionally attended and spoken at the dinner, Mr. Trump has not gone to the event since taking office.
Mr. Trumpearlier this month, telling reporters it was “so boring” and “too negative.”
In response to the president’s expected no-show, White House Correspondents’ Association President Olivier Knox said, “We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present, and future.”
Last year’s speech at the WHCA dinner by comedian Michelle Wolf was criticized by the Trump administration and members of the press. Wolf’s routine featured fierce jokes about Mr. Trump, his children and top members of his administration, including White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who sat frowning as Wolf mocked her as a liar.
She also called out the White House reporters at the dinner, saying they were “obsessed” with Mr. Trump and benefited from covering him. “You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him,” Wolf said.
Her jokes mostly drew cheers and applause from the crowd, but the response from the media and politicians was more sharply divided afterward. Mr. Trump called Wolf a “filthy ‘comedian'” on Twitter and said the dinner was “DEAD as we know it.” In an August press briefing, Sanders cited Wolf’s routine as one of the reasons she wouldn’t disavow Mr. Trump calling the media “the enemy of the people.”
Wolf said in an interview with NPR’s “Fresh Air” in May that she “wouldn’t change a word” of her performance. “I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns,” she said.
The WHCA will be going a different route this year by tapping Ron Chernow, a biographer of American presidents and statesmen, to be the featured speaker at the annual dinner. When WHCA announced the move in November,
Jason Silverstein, Emily Tillett and Grace Segers contributed to this report