President Donald Trump announced on Twitter on Saturday, February 25, that he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 29.
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year,” the former Celebrity Apprentice host, 70, wrote on his personal Twitter account. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
Though Trump did not offer further explanation for the decision, his announcement comes on the heels of growing tensions between his administration and the media. CNN, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Politico were among the major news outlets blocked from attending White House press secretary Sean Spicer‘s briefing on Friday, February 24. Journalists from conservative outlets such as Breitbart News and Fox News were allowed to inside.
The annual dinner, which has become a tradition since it began in 1920, is organized by the journalists who cover the White House and the president. Each year, an entertainer or comedian hosts the event and playfully roasts the president. Former President Barack Obama attended all eight dinners during his two-term presidency.
Several news outlets, including Vanity Fair, The New York Times and BuzzFeed News, previously announced they would sit out this year’s dinner, and Bloomberg canceled its annual afterparty. The night of the dinner, Full Frontal host Samantha Bee planned to raise funds to support the Committee to Protect Journalists at her own event, titled Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
The White House Correspondents’ Association posted a statement on Twitter after Trump’s announcement.
“The White House Correspondents’ Association looks forward to having its annual dinner on April 29,” Jeff Mason, the association’s president, wrote. “The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which 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. We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing promising students who represent the next generation of our profession.”
Many Twitter users shared their thoughts on Trump’s controversial decision to ditch the dinner. “You’re not breaking up with me, I’M breaking up with YOU,” one user wrote. Another added, “Is it the part where comedians make fun of the president? Or where they give out scholarships? It’s the scholarships, isn’t it?”
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