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Donald Trump to skip White House correspondents' dinner for 2nd year in row

The president was famously roasted by Barack Obama in 2012

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 06 April 2018 16:17 BST
Remembering when Obama destroyed Trump at the 2011 White House correspondents dinner

Donald Trump – known for having something of a thin skin – will skip a skip a journalists’ dinner in Washington where he was famously mocked by Barack Obama seven years ago.

In what will seen as further evidence of Mr Trump’s brittle and abrasive relationship with the media, he will for the second year in succession not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

“The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year’s dinner but that he will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment,” the group’s president, Margaret Talev, said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, Mr Trump had told WABC Radio that he “probably won’t do it”, saying it was “so bad and so fake”. “I want to get it straightened out with the press before I do it,” he said.

The annual dinner, a fundraiser for college scholarships and a venue for reporting awards, mixes politicians, journalists and celebrities and is typically attended by the president and first lady. Remarks by a comedian, often poking fun of the president and the media, are also a regular part of the event.

Because of the number of senior American journalists who attend the dinner, which is held in the Washington Hilton, the event routinely receives more media coverage than some feel it deserves.

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Yet sometimes, it attracts international attention. In 2011, Mr Trump scowled for a portion of the dinner, when Mr Obama mocked him over his campaign to try and prove the then president was not born in the United States was therefore not constitutionally permitted to hold the office.

“No one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald,” Mr Obama said. “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?”

After a campaign during which he accused the media of producing “fake news”, a habit he maintained once he entered the White House, Mr Trump skipped the event last year, holding a rally in Pennsylvania instead.

Prior to that, Ronald Reagan was the most recent president to skip the annual dinner, as he was recovering after being shot during an assassination attempt.

There had recently been speculation that Mr Trump might decide to attend this year, having recently accepted an invitation to another annual journalists’ event, the Gridiron Club Dinner. At the white-tie affair featuring journalists and officials, Mr Trump offered a series of good natured one-liners.

“I was very excited to receive this invitation and ruin your evening in person,” he said. “That’s why I accepted.”

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