He’d rather not. President Donald Trump explained in a new interview why he won’t be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 29. See what he had to say in the video above.
During a Tuesday, February 28, appearance from the White House on Fox & Friends, the 70-year-old business mogul said that he is skipping the annual event because of his complicated relationship with the press.
“I fully understand when they hit you, but when they make stories up, when they create sources — because I believe that sometimes they don’t have sources, you know, the sources don’t exist — and sometimes they do exist. I’m not saying all sources [don’t exist]. But I believe a lot of the sources are made up,” Trump told Fox & Friends on Tuesday. “A lot of the stories are made up. I believe a lot of the stories are pure fiction. They just pull it out of air.”
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, regularly attended by a mix of A-list celebs and Washington, D.C.-based media, raises thousands of dollars for journalism scholarships and honors outstanding journalists.
“I just thought in light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things we’re talking about now, I thought it would be inappropriate. … Look, I have great respect for the press,” the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host continued. “I have great respect for reporters and the whole profession. Now, with all of that being said, I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do the dinner.”
As previously reported, the White House blocked reporters from The New York Times, CNN and Politico from a press briefing on Friday, February 24, though representatives from conservative outlets were allowed in.
The White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents the press corp and oversees the WHCD, released a statement in response to the discriminatory decision. “The W.H.C.A. board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” Jeff Mason, the association's president, said in a statement. “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
While he is not keen on attending 2017’s dinner, Trump did say that he had a wonderful time when he attended the star-studded fete in 2011, during 44th POTUS Barack Obama’s presidency.
“Well, I am not a hypocrite, and I have not been treated properly, and that’s OK, which is fine. … You know, one of the great misconceptions was when President Obama was up, was it now — a long time ago — five years ago, or whatever, I loved that evening,” the real estate tycoon said. “I had the greatest time.”
That year, Obama, 55, gently roasted Trump, who previously suggested that the Hawaii native was not born in the United States. "Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald,” Obama quipped. “And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
During his chat with Fox & Friends, Trump insisted that he took Obama’s jokes in stride. “And can I be honest? I had the greatest time. I can’t act like I’m thrilled because they’re telling jokes. … I thought [Obama] did a very good job, and he was very respectful, and it was fun, and I enjoyed it, and I laughed,” he said. “And I told the press. They said, ‘Did you have a good time?’ And I said, ‘It was fantastic.’ The next day I read, ‘Donald Trump felt terrible about the evening.’ I loved the evening. I had a great time.”
Trump first announced he’d be skipping the WHCD via Twitter on Saturday, February 25. “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year,” he wrote. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
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