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The president of the White House Correspondents’ Association has joined the chorus of those criticizing Michelle Wolf’s monologue at Saturday night’s dinner.
Margaret Talev wrote in a letter to members that Wolf’s monologue was “not in the spirit” of the group’s mission with respect to its annual dinner. The letter was shared by the WHCA on its official Twitter account.
Wolf’s monologue drew criticism from political pundits following her comments about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Sanders, who was in attendance and seated on the dais as Wolf made her comments, was mocked for her job performance and also for her appearance.
“Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I’m not sure what we’re going to get: a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams,” the comedian said during the event. She also compared the press secretary to the villainous, dour Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid’s Tale and made comments about Sanders’ makeup, saying, “She burns facts then uses that ash to create the perfect smoky eye.”
While the likes of MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman and Fox News correspondent Ed Henry were quick to criticize Wolf, many of her fellow comedians rushed to her defense, arguing that she had not attacked Sanders’ looks.
Talev, a Bloomberg News White House correspondent, was receiving pressure to make a statement on the controversy.
She wrote that she’d heard from members “expressing dismay with the entertainer’s monologue and how it reflects on our mission.”
Added Talev, “Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”
Shortly after Talev released her statement, President Donald Trump chimed in on Twitter: “The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a failure last year, but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it. The filthy “comedian” totally bombed (couldn’t even deliver her lines-much like the Seth Meyers weak performance). Put Dinner to rest, or start over!”
In an earlier tweet, Trump called the event a “very big, boring bust” and said Wolf “bombed.”
On Monday morning, he added that the annual dinner is “dead as we know it,” calling the event a “total disaster and an embarrassment.” He then added, “Fake news is alive and well and beautifully represented on Saturday night!”
A slew of comedians came to Wolf’s defense, including Andy Richter, Kumail Nanjiani, Kathy Griffin, Jimmy Kimmel, Judd Apatow and Rosie O’Donnell.
For her part, Wolf responded on Instagram a couple hours later with a photo of herself and a caption that read simply: “Not in the spirit of the mission.”
Read Talev’s full statement below.
— WHCA (@whca) April 30, 2018
Patrick Shanley contributed to this report.
April 30, 6:15 a.m. Updated with Trump tweet.
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