White House Staff Not Attending Correspondents Dinner in Show of "Solidarity"

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President Donald Trump

Donald Trump is the first president since Ronald Reagan to not attend the annual event.

White House staff will not attend the annual Correspondents' Dinner, according to a statement released Tuesday by the White House Correspondents' Association.

"White House staff will not be attending this year's White House Correspondence Dinner out of 'solidarity' with President Trump," the statement read.

President Donald Trump had previously announced that he would be skipping the event, making him the first sitting president to do so since Ronald Reagan missed the dinner after being shot in an assassination attempt, though he did call in to the event. 

The WHCA said it "regrets" the decision by the White House staff, saying, "We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic."

The dinner has been a staple for decades, where the current administration is usually the butt of lighthearted jokes and criticisms. Trump, who does not shy away from voicing his distaste for the mainstream media, made waves when he publicly announced he would not attend the event.

In February, Trump appeared on Fox News' Fox & Friends to discuss his decision to skip the dinner. "It just seems like the other side, whenever they’re losing badly, they always pull out the race card," Trump said. "I’ve watched it for years. I watched it against Ronald Reagan, I’ve watched it against so many other people. And they always like pulling out the race card."

See the statement below.