Donald Trump blames 'fake news' for him not going to White House Correspondents Dinner

'In light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things we’re talking about, I thought it would be inappropriate,' says President

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After Donald Trump announced he was not attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, people relished in speculating about his reasoning. Guesswork ranged from theories about whether it had something to do with being relentlessly mocked at past dinners to concern about whether he would find an act to headline the event.

Nevertheless, according to the President, the reasoning was none of the above. The billionaire property developer claimed he was not attending one of Washington’s biggest social events, which has been dubbed the political establishment’s equivalent of the Oscars, because of “fake news”.

“In light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things we’re talking about, I thought it would be inappropriate,” Mr Trump said on Fox & Friends on Tuesday. “I have great respect for the press. I have great respect for reporters and the profession. I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do it.”

Launching into a broader attack on media coverage of the first few weeks of his presidency, the President said: “I am not a hypocrite. I haven’t been treated properly”.

He reiterated his often-uttered point that mainstream journalists had wholly fabricated stories about him, saying: “I believe a lot of the stories are made up. They’re pure fiction”.

All the same, he heaped praise on the Fox and Friends trio for treating him “very fairly”, dubbing himself “a friend” to the show, and noting the frequency of his telephone interviews with the show over the years.

Mr Trump announced the news he would not be attending the prestigious event, which is attended by members of the press and generally the President and Vice President, via a curt but cordial message on Twitter on Saturday.

The last President not to attend the dinner, which is often referred to as “NerdProm” and has been going for over a century, was Ronald Reagan back in 1981 when he was at Camp David recovering from an attempt on his life. Despite his frail health, he did phone into the event and even joked about the shooting.

But Mr Trump is not the only person who announced they will be giving this year’s event a miss. Vanity Fair and the New Yorker recently announced they would not attend the event this year, while CNN and MSNBC have also said they are contemplating sitting out. This however might change with news Mr Trump will not be there.

Despite his scheduled no-show, Mr Trump is likely to still take a roasting as it has long been traditional for Presidents to be mocked by a comedian at the event. Despite not being President then, Mr Trump star took a momentous ribbing from President Barack Obama and Seth Meyers at the 2011 dinner, with some even claiming this was the historic night he decided to swap The Celebrity Apprentice for Republican politics.

Despite Mr Trump’s decision to drop out, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) has said they will go ahead as normal.

 “The White House Correspondents Association looks forward to having its annual dinner on April 29,” Jeff Mason, WHCA president, said in a statement.

“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," they continued. “We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognising the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession.”

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