Interacting with the media Friday morning, President Donald Trump announced plans to once again skip the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
Instead, Trump intends on keeping to what has become a personal tradition during his time in office: addressing supporters at one of his stadium-filling rallies on the night of the dinner.
“I am going to hold a rally,” the president said. “Yeah, because the dinner is so boring and so negative, that we are going to hold a very positive rally instead.”
President Trump on White House Correspondents' Dinner: "I'm going to hold a rally. The dinner's so boring and so negative." pic.twitter.com/t8P8Xtzjgm
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 5, 2019
Trump was unable to provide much information on the rally — which is still being planned — responding to questions about location and venue by revealing that those details were still to be determined.
The president did, however, indicate a number of possible locations were on the table for what he intends to be a large and “positive” event.
“We have about three sites,” he said. “Everybody wants it. It’ll be a big one.”
This will be the third straight year in which Trump will not be present at the correspondents’ dinner.
It was late February 2017 when the president announced via Twitter that he would not be attending the first White House Correspondents’ Association dinner of his presidency.
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 tweet prompted immense pushback from the establishment media in the weeks that followed.
Regardless, Trump addressed supporters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on the night of that year’s dinner, coaxing cheers out of a large audience as he spoke about the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and early economic growth, as well as his intentions to bring back jobs and shore up the southern border — popular policies among those in attendance.
Last April, the president skipped out once again, opting to instead host a rally in Michigan.
As Trump addressed an energized crowd for well over an hour, the White House Correspondents’ Association welcomed comedian Michelle Wolf to address those in attendance.
Cracking jokes about everything from abortion to the president’s intelligence, Wolf’s guest appearance turned out to be rather controversial. Most upsetting to viewers, Wolf spent several minutes tearing down White House press secretary Sarah Sanders by referring to her as an “Uncle Tom, but for white women who disappoint other white women” and numerous other things too vulgar to report.
Trump took the controversial statements of the evening as evidence of his claims that the event would be turned into another opportunity for the media to take excessive potshots at his administration and the character of those have been a part of it.
“The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is DEAD as we know it. This was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country and all that it stands for. FAKE NEWS is alive and well and beautifully represented on Saturday night!” Trump said on Twitter.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is DEAD as we know it. This was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country and all that it stands for. FAKE NEWS is alive and well and beautifully represented on Saturday night!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2018
After the blowback from Wolf’s 2018 speech, the White House Correspondents’ Association had decided to pull away from comedians this year.
Last fall, the group announced its decision to go with presidential biographer Ron Chernow as the keynote speaker. The pick was unpopular with people on both sides of the aisle, however.
The president’s supporters were quick to point out that Chernow — a member of a group calling itself Historians Against Trump — has been incredibly vocal in his disdain for the president and is, as such, not a good-faith choice.
Meanwhile, some on the left came out strongly in opposition to the change. Wolf herself attacked the decision, referring to the correspondents’ association as a bunch of “cowards.”
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