Trump ‘cancels’ White House Christmas party for journalists, as feud with media escalates

Move marks latest episode in US president's turbulent relationship with press

Tom Embury-Dennis
Thursday 13 December 2018 12:20 GMT
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Melania Trump reveals the White House Christmas decor for 2018 festive season

Donald Trump has reportedly cancelled the annual White House Christmas party for members of the media.

The festive gathering has been hosted by presidents for decades, and the apparent decision not to hold it this year, reported by Fox News, marks the latest episode in the Republican leader’s turbulent relationship with journalists.

It follows weeks of speculation as to the fate of the reception – usually attended by legions of Washington journalists – after administration officials refused to say it was going ahead.

“This year we’re inviting Mueller,” Bill Shine, the White House deputy communications chief, quipped when asked about the party last month – a reference to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Last year’s Christmas party saw its own controversy, after a number of black and LGBT reporters were left off the guest list for the first time in years.

It also saw CNN boycott the event, “in light of the president’s continued attacks on freedom of the press”.

Those attacks have only escalated over the past 12 months, with Mr Trump repeatedly referring to media he does not approve of as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people”.

In November, tensions peaked when the White House temporarily revoked CNN journalist Jim Acosta’s press pass.

The White House has been contacted for comment.

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