White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Conservatives walk out as Michelle Wolf brutally ridicules Trump and aides

Comedian refuses to hold back while attacking president, his press secretary and daughter

Colin Drury
New York
,Andrew Buncombe
Sunday 29 April 2018 17:44 BST
Michelle Wolf destroys Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House Correspondents Dinner

Michelle Wolf started as she meant to go on.

“Good evening, here we are at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” she greeted guests at Saturday’s prestigious media dinner in Washington. “Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with Trump, let’s get this over with.”

It got more risqué – and more brutal – from there.

The annual black tie event – held for 3,000 members of the US media and government – is known for post-dinner comedians who mock the administration.

But Wolf’s routine, which ripped into senior White House staff – including a visibly uncomfortable Sarah Huckabee Sanders – drew audible gasps. Several people walked out. Former press secretary Sean Spicer took to Twitter to call the performance a “disgrace”.

Donald Trump himself had boycotted the dinner for a second year running, opting, instead, to hold a campaign-style rally in Michigan – a fact which Wolf did not let lie.

“I would drag him here myself, but it turns out that the president of the United States is the one pussy you’re not allowed to grab,” she said at one point, referring to his recorded comments on the infamous Access Hollywood tapes.

Her fire was also turned on current press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who remained looking on throughout (“She burns facts,” said Wolf, “and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye – like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies”) and Mr Trump’s daughter and senior advisor Ivanka. “She cleans up nice,” the 32-year-old comedian said. “She’s the diaper genie of the administration. On the outside she looks sleek, but the inside, it’s still full of shit.”

Mr Trump was quick to condemn the performance and contrast his own rally in Washington, Michigan, with the event in the nation’s capital.

“While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust...the so-called comedian really “bombed.” @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Great evening last night in Washington, Michigan. The enthusiasm, knowledge and love in that room was unreal. To the many thousands of people who couldn’t get in, I cherish you....and will be back!”

During her performance, Wolf refused to ignore some of America’s most enduringly controversial subjects.

On Mr Trump’s plans to arm teachers: “He wants to give teachers guns, and I support that because then they can sell them for things they need like supplies.”

And on abortion: “Don’t knock it till you try it. And when you do try it, really knock it, you gotta get that baby out of there. And yeah, sure, you can groan all you want, I know a lot of you are very anti-abortion, unless it’s the one you got for your secret mistress.”

Footage broadcast on Fox News appeared to show the routine being met with both occasional laughter and occasional awkward silence. As one joke bombed, Wolf – famously alternative in her approach – declared: “Yeah, shoulda done more research before you got me to do this.”

As the barbs showed no sign of letting up, presidential assistant Mercedes Schlapp walked out during the performance. She later tweeted: “Completely appalled by the so called and twisted comedian at the #WHCA dinner.” She added such shows were “why America hates the out of touch leftist media elite”.

Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent with The New York Times, also appeared unhappy about the ridiculing of Ms Sanders.

“That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive,” she said.

The dinner once attracted Oscar winners and other notable performers in film and television as well as celebrities in sports and other high-profile professions. That star power dimmed last year when the famously thin-skinned Mr Trump, who routinely slams Washington’s media, announced he would not attend. He was the first president to skip the event since Ronald Reagan in 1981.

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