Last year, President Trump skipped the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, an annual ritual during which the White House press corps and the administration set aside their grievances for a night of fun and charity. While there was hope that Trump would attend this year’s dinner, he said finally on Friday morning that he “probably won’t” come.
The White House had said for the last few months that a decision had not been made on Trump’s attendance. The president made the remarks on a taping of the WABC/New York Bernie And Sid radio show, throwing in a dig at the “so fake” media.
Following Trump’s comments, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, which puts on the dinner, said the organization was informed by the White House that Trump “does not plan” to attend. The organization said, though, that Trump “will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be attending the event and sitting at the head table.
This year’s dinner, which is always held at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., is scheduled for Apr. 28. Comedian Michelle Wolf, fresh off landing her own Netflix talk show, is hosting.
Without Trump, the 2017 dinner was widely seen as less glamorous and star-studded than previous dinners. The party scene for this year’s dinner is noticeably thinner than past years, as several media companies that used to throw parties — including Bloomberg and The New Yorker — have stuck by that decision. MSNBC, though, is still throwing a party after the Saturday-night dinner, and CNN has a brunch planned for Sunday morning.
Last year, some felt that the lower wattage was actually a good thing for the event, which was originally meant to honor journalism and to raise money for journalism students, rather than as an opportunity for Hollywood’s A-list to mix with Capitol Hill’s A-list.
“Maybe with fewer celebrities and fewer cozying up, maybe this is a step in the right direction,” CNN’s Jake Tapper told The Hollywood Reporter last April. “Maybe this all shakes out in a way that’s good for journalism at the end.”
Sanders has not yet returned a request for comment about Trump’s plans to skip the dinner.