U.S. President Donald J. Trump has declared that he will not be attending the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner this year, BBC reports. Trump made the announcement just one day after the White House excluded a number of major media outlets from a press briefing. The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is an annual event that welcomes several high-profile celebrities, politicians, and journalists, who are usually joined by the U.S. President. This year’s event is set to take place on 29 April.
Trump announced that he would not be attending this year’s event via Twitter. This decision follows as the relationship between the white house and some broadcasters and newspapers continues to falter. Trump has repeatedly used the term “fake news” to describe negative news coverage.
CNN, BBC, Buzzfeed and the New York Times were some of the high-profile media outlets that were banned from the off-camera informal briefing leading to a press conference held by Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday. Just a few hours before to the press briefing on Friday Trump had made a strong statement against some of these media outlets calling them “fake news” and saying, “Fake news are the enemy of the people.”
Trump made the announcement regarding his decision to skip on the White House correspondents’ dinner via Twitter, writing, “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
Every sitting president has attended the event at least once during their presidency since 1924. The last president to skip the dinner for no viable reason was Richard Nixon, who didn’t attend the event in 1972. Ronald Reagan did not to attend the event in 1981, but this was because he had just been shot. Reagan however still phoned into the event. Barack Obama attended all eight events during his presidency. President Trump himself has attended the Correspondents’ Dinner in the past. In 2011, when Obama was president and Trump was in attendance at the dinner, Obama had jokingly said that if Trump were to be elected president, he would turn the White House into a casino. Of course there was no way to predict that Trump would not only actually end up running for president, but he would also win. Trump was caught on camera with a livid look on his face, whilst everyone including the President himself and comedian Seth Myers were making jokes at his expense. Trump however told last year that he had actually enjoyed that dinner.
Trump and the White House have received widespread criticism following their decision to bar certain media personnel from their press briefing on Friday. The New York Times has called the ban “an unmistakable insult to democratic ideals.” The BBC bureau chief in Washington, Paul Danahar, has also protested their exclusion from the meeting. In a statement, he said the following.
“We understand that there may be occasions when, due to space or circumstances, the White House restricts press events to the established pool. However, what happened today did not fit into that pattern. Our reporting will remain fair and impartial, regardless.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association, which hosts the annual event, has commented on Trump’s decision not to attend the event. They have said that the dinner will go on as planned and will “continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.” Bloomberg News and the New Yorker magazine have announced that they will not be holding their usual after party this year. Many are even calling for all journalists to boycott the Correspondents’ dinner itself.
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