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White House Correspondents Dinner host blasts Trump, despite being asked not to

The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj showed no hesitation in taking on the president, in the face of his near-unprecedented absence from the event

Clarisse Loughrey
Sunday 30 April 2017 08:21 BST
Host Hasan Minhaj roasts Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

How do you hold the White House Correspondents Dinner, a long-running tradition of roasting the president, when the president is so famously bad at taking a joke?

With Donald Trump declining to attend this year's event, host Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show was apparently asked by organisers not to poke fun of the president (via Page Six), with the president of the White House Correspondents' Association Jeff Mason stating: "I was not looking for someone to roast the president in absentia."

"It’s a very different dinner without the president there. We will be focused on the First Amendment and journalism and the importance of a free press... That doesn’t mean there can’t be some jokes about the president, but just that there should be some jokes on the press."

Thankfully, it's a warning Minhaj paid absolutely no mind to, exercising his own press freedom by ripping straight into the heart of Trump for the majority of his hilarious opening speech.

"Welcome to the series finale of the White House Correspondents' Dinner," he began with. "My name is Hasan Minhaj, or as I'll be known in a few weeks, number 830287."

“No one wanted to do this, so of course it landed in the hands of an immigrant,” Minhaj joked about the fact hosting a president-less Correspondents Dinner wasn't exactly the hottest gig in town, before re-iterating the idea he'd been told not to go after the Trump administration.

"We've got to address the elephant that’s not in the room. The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow," he later stated, adding that Trump was probably, "in Pennsylvania, because he can't take a joke."

"Historically the president usually performs at the White House Correspondents Dinner, but I think I speak for all of us when I say, he’s done far too much bombing this month," he continued

He later joked that Trump, who is sober, would only continually tweet at 3am because, "that's 10 a.m. in Russia, that's business hours." He added that, "The news coming out of the White House is so stressful, I have been watching House of Cards just to relax."

The absence of Trump was the first since Ronald Reagan skipped the event in 1981, missing the gathering after his infamous assassination attempt, though he still gave his regards via telephone.

Trump or no Trump, the dinner still sold out.

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