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He was most likely just trolling his Twitter audience of 55 million followers and journalists, but President Donald Trump suggested on the social media platform Tuesday night that he could attend a 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner hosted by a historian and not a comedian who would make fun of him.
The organization that puts on the dinner, The White House Correspondents’ Association, named author Ron Chernow as next year’s featured speaker, one year after former Netflix host Michelle Wolf gave a performance that infuriated the members of Trump’s administration in attendance, most prominently press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The decision was not uniformly popular.
“So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that this year, for the first time in decades, they will have an author instead of a comedian,” the president wrote late Tuesday night. “Good first step in comeback of a dying evening and tradition! Maybe I will go?”
Wolf, who called the WHCA “cowards” on Monday after they picked a historian to speak, mocked the president for his support of the Saudi Kingdom in the face of evidence suggesting its direct involvement in the murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
“I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist,” she responded on Twitter.
Trump flirted with the idea of attending this year’s dinner. In a spring 2017 interview, he had strongly hinted he would attend the 2018 dinner. “I would come next year, absolutely,” he told Reuters.
Sans Trump, this year’s dinner was an opportunity for the White House press corps to mend fences with an administration that has been hostile to the media, egged on by the commander in chief.
But, since then, the relationship has only deteriorated further, as evidenced by the administration’s Nov. 7 decision to suspend CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass, a matter that has since been resolved (for now).
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