On Monday, the White House Correspondents’ Association announced that no comedian will be invited to perform at the annual press dinner. This could suggest that the WHCA is still smarting from Michelle Wolf’s April appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner, according to CBS News. She delivered a controversial speech peppered with jokes and rants against the Administration.
Instead of a comedian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow has been invited to attend the event.
“The @whca are cowards,” Wolf said in a tweet. “The media is complicit.”
Chernow is known for writing biographies of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, among other works. He released a statement saying he’s “never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian,” but that he has been asked to defend freedom of speech in the comments he’ll give for the event.
“The White House Correspondents’ Association has asked me to make the case for the First Amendment and I am happy to oblige,” he said.
Chernow’s Hamilton biography inspired the hit Broadway play, Hamilton.
The Correspondents’ Dinner is a long-running Washington, D.C. tradition that typically features a comedian who jokes about the president. Usually, the President also stands up to make some jokes. Former president Barack Obama participated in this tradition. Donald Trump, however, has not attended the first two dinners of his Administration.
Michelle Wolf’s routine in April poked fun at Trump and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. The crowd cheered and applauded her routine, but the jokes set off a media firestorm and enraged many GOP politicians.
Michelle Wolf calls WHCA "cowards" for ditching the traditional comedian’s performance https://t.co/eQGey4xfx3— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 19, 2018
Donald Trump called Michelle Wolf a “filthy ‘comedian'” on Twitter after her performance. When asked about it in May, Wolf said she “wouldn’t change a word” of the performance she gave.
“I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns,” she said.
The annual dinner is scheduled for April 27, 2019. According to CNN Business, there is no reason to believe that Donald Trump will attend this year’s event, either. The event has a decades-old tradition of inviting hard-hitting comedians to roast the President, and other administrations have taken it in stride, such as the time when Stephen Colbert blasted George W. Bush. Furthermore, President Barack Obama roasted Trump when he took the podium in 2011, according to The Guardian.
The White House Correspondents’ Association gets a new president every year. The next president will assume the role in July. Then, it will be up to them to decide whether or not to invite a comedian to headline the annual dinner.