Trump Will Be First President In 36 Years To Skip White House Correspondents Dinner
President Trump announced Saturday afternoon that he would break from a decades-old tradition and skip the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner scheduled for April 29.
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted.
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
The annual dinner, sometimes referred to — affectionately and derisively — in Washington as “Nerd Prom,” honors journalism with awards and scholarships. The president is a major a draw to help in those efforts. What began in 1921 as a simple awards dinner evolved into a highly glamorized affair that attracted Hollywood stars.
The last president to not attend the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981. But he had a pretty good reason — he was recovering from being shot in an assassination attempt. Reagan did phone into the event and even joked about the shooting. “If I could give you just one little bit of advice,” Reagan said from Camp David, the presidential retreat, “when somebody tells you to get in a car quick, do it.”
He signed off with a light ribbing of the news media. “Well, I’m looking forward to the next news conference,” he said. “I have so many questions to ask you all.”
The last president to outright skip the event was Richard Nixon in 1972. Nixon warned the press he’d do so and followed through. Trump called the press the “enemy of the American people,” in a tweet recently. That echoes Nixon, who told the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “The press is your enemy.”
Trump’s announcement comes at a moment of high tension between the White House and many news organizations. Trump has made attacking mainstream news organizations a staple of his public remarks. Trump and his White House have accused the New York Times, CNN and others of being an “opposition party” with which he is at war.
In response to Trump’s tweet, the White House Correspondents’ Association President Jeff Mason issued the following statement:
“The White House Correspondents’ Association looks forward to having its annual dinner on April 29….