The White House staff is following President Trump’s lead in boycotting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
That presumably means the President’s cabinet and White House press secretary Sean Spicer will be “standing in solidarity” with the President’s defiant decision to not cavort with the biggest names in journalism at the annual gala, citing “unfair” news coverage.
“We hope, including the President, that things improve and we can attend next year,” Spicer said in a statement on Tuesday.
In the past, the so-called nerd prom’s guest list has included a menagerie of celebrities, lawmakers and socialites each year. Trump attended the annual gala in 2011. The dinner’s host, typically a comedian, often spares no expense at roasting the President.
The White House Correspondents Association board expressed disappointment at the President’s mansion snub — but noted that the April 29 affair will go on to celebrate the First Amendment without them.
“The WHCA board regrets this decision very much,” WHCA president Jeff Mason said in a statement. “We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administration that is a hallmark of a healthy republic.”
Regardless of the strained relationship, President Trump and Vice President Pence are still welcome if the two change their minds, Mason added.
Trump veered from presidential tradition dating back to the Ronald Reagan administration by pledging not to attend the dinner in late February.
In addition to waging a contentious media war since winning the White House, Trump may have another reason for skipping the journo party. The last time he attended in 2011, then-President Obama ridiculed him for birthing the birther rumor. The commander-in-chief imagined a Trump White House with flashy signs, golfers on the south lawn and buxom bikini babes lounging in its fountain.
Additionally, Obama poked fun at Trump’s leadership qualifications on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Reagan skipped the correspondents dinner in 1981 but only because he was recovering from an assassination attempt. He called into the dinner from Camp David.