Trump snubs White House correspondents’ dinner for third consecutive year

‘I think he doesn’t have a big enough spine to attend,’ says 2018 host Michelle Wolf

Zamira Rahim
Sunday 07 April 2019 01:46
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Michelle Wolf destroys Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House Correspondents Dinner

Donald Trump has said he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD) for the third year in a row.

The US president told reporters on Friday that he would instead stage a rally at the same time as the 27 April event.

“The dinner is so boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally instead,” he said.

Presidents traditionally attend the press dinner, which is a fundraiser for university scholarships where politicians, journalists and celebrities mix.

Awards for journalism are traditionally distributed at the dinner, which is usually hosted by a comedian.

Mr Trump has not attended the dinner since since he took office, but had suggested he might appear this year after organisers scrapped the event’s usual format.

The historian Ron Chernow will make a speech at the 2019 dinner instead of a comedian.

Last year’s featured speaker, Michelle Wolf, said she thought the president “did not have a big enough spine to attend”.

“You got to love someone that just can’t handle being made fun of,” she told Variety.

“I think he doesn’t have a big enough spine to attend. If a president can’t take someone making fun of them, I don’t really care about them.”

Ms Wolf also advised the president to ”man up”.

Her pointed speech from 2018 led to the WHCA shifting its approach away from comedy, in a decision that has been heavily criticised.

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“We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present, and future,” Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said.

Mr Trump, who has long had an adversarial relationship with the news media, also held rallies on the same night as the dinner in 2017 and 2018.

The president said his team had yet to settle on a location for his rally, but added that it would be “a big one.”

He attended the dinner in 2011, where he was famously mocked by Barack Obama.

Additional reporting by agencies

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