Trump skips White House press dinner


Donald Trump will not attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a high-profile event that draws celebrities, politicians and journalists.

The announcement marks a break with an annual tradition where the US president is the guest of honour.

It came as Mr Trump lashed out as some media, calling some “fake news” and “the enemy of the people”.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

The annual black-tie event – which was created in 1921 – raises money for journalism scholarships, presents awards and gives the press and the president an evening of mutual appreciation.

The current strained relationship between the President and the press has escalated over the last few weeks, culminating in Mr Trump’s latest attack.



Video:
US President launches attack on ‘dishonest’ media

Some news outlets such as Bloomberg News and The New Yorker, which usually host lavish after-parties, had also backed out of this year’s event.

The dinner “has been 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,” said Jeff Mason, a Reuters White House correspondent who heads the association this year.

During the event, presidents are typically expected to poke fun at themselves for the benefit of the press corps.

In 2011 President Obama used his speech to address the disproved claim that he wasn’t born in the US.


Barack Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner
Video:
2011: Obama roasts Trump at White House dinner

Directly addressing Mr Trump – a regular at the event thanks to his reality star status – he said: “No one is happier to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald.

“And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing?”

Close ups on Mr Trump in the audience showed his stony faced response to the one-liners.

Mr Trump did not attend last year’s dinner, where Mr Obama was the honoured guest, prompting jokes from the former president that he may have stayed at home to tweet, or eat.


Barack Obama drops the mic
Video:
Barack Obama’s goodbye mic drop

Mr Obama went on to round off his speech with a move that spawned a thousand giffs – ending with the words “Obama out,” before kissing two fingers to his lips and dropping his microphone.

Mr Trump will be the first president to miss the event since Ronald Reagan in 1981, who missed the dinner while recovering from a gunshot wound.

Although Mr Reagan was unable attend the dinner physically, he phoned from hospital, joking about the failed assassination attempt, and saying: “When somebody tells you to get in a car quick, do it”.

It is unlikely the President’s absence at this year’s event, which takes place on Saturday 26 April, will avoid him being the butt of the joke.

Vice-President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will attend on Mr Trump’s behalf.


Nigel Farage dines with President Trump in Washington DC
Image Caption:
Nigel Farage enjoys ‘Dinner with the Donald’ at Trump International Hotel

On the same night that Mr Trump tweeted to decline his place at the WHCA dinner, he was joined by Nigel Farage for dinner at The Trump International Hotel in Washington.

The former UKIP leader was in America to address Trump supporters on what he called the “global revolution” he believes has been triggered by Brexit.

On Friday, the White House excluded several major US news organisations from an off-camera briefing held by the White House press secretary.

Reporters for CNN, The New York Times, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed were not allowed into the session in the office of press secretary Sean Spicer, a decision that drew strong protests and led some to boycott the briefing.



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