The White House Correspondents' Association says that they will still welcome Donald Trump to the annual dinner even after the president has stated via Twitter that he will not be attending the event. The dinner, which brings together the politicians of the country and some of the biggest celebrities, is held each year to celebrate political journalism and the important role that it plays in a healthy government.
Could this be the first WHCA dinner without the U.S. president in 36 years?
In a tweet, President Trump announced that he will not be attending the annual WHCA Dinner this year to be held on April 29. The announcement was short and polite, given the president's strained relationship with the media to say the least. If he truly does not attend the dinner that he has been attending as a civilian for years, the WHCA will have to cope with the first WHCA dinner without the commander-in-chief. Thirty-six years ago, President Ronald Reagan also failed to be at the same event for security reasons at the time.
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Feb. 25, 2017
There is no announcement if the president will send a proxy instead to attend on his behalf, but regardless of the circumstances, the WHCA still welcomes the president should he decide to attend at the last minute.
"If President Trump changes his mind, he is welcome to attend the dinner," said Jeff Mason, president of the WHCA.
The president's plan to skip the dinner does not really come as a surprise. His relationship with the media has been seriously strained even before he held office and neither side is willing to back down. On the president's side, he is firm that the media continues to spread "fake news," and even goes so far as to say that the media is the "opposition party."
The media, however, has no plans of backing down even after a recent event when a couple of media outlets felt the direct effect of the strained relationship as they were blocked from attending a media gaggle with press secretary Sean Spicer at the White House.
Trump And The WHCA Dinner
As a civilian, Trump has attended the WHCA dinner on multiple occasions and more often than not, he is poked fun at along with other politicians and celebrities by the invited entertainer of the evening. Though word is that the WHCA has already chosen the entertainer for the evening, they are yet to announce who it will be. Previous hosts include Stephen Colbert, Seth Myers, Joel McHale, Cecily Strong and Larry Wilmore.