What if they gave a White House Correspondents’ Dinner and nobody came? Well, that’s not going to happen tonight, but there is one big void at the D.C. event: Donald Trump will be the first president to skip the annual to-do since Ronald Reagan was recovering from his assassination attempt in 1981. Really, Don? Bad (or sick) guy! SAD!! Oops, sorry.
Instead, POTUS spent a chunk of his 100th day in office at a campaign-like rally a couple hours north in Harrisburg, PA. There he bashed the media, Hollywood, puppies, rainbows and the WCHD itself, calling it, in typically articulate fashion “very, very boring.” But while Trump is avoiding being insulted and mocked to his face this year, he told Reuters recently that he might attend next year — or not.
We’ve known since February that Trump and members of his administration were boycotting tonight’s dinner, and many media outlets since have canceled their pre- and post-WCHD parties in an effort to focus on the dinner and the 103-year-old White House Correspondents’ Association.
The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj is providing the entertainment tonight at the Washington Hilton, which has hosted the event for each of the past 50 years. Watch the WCHD livestream here and follow along with Deadline’s live blog below.
That’s a wrap at the Washington Hilton. Thanks for following our live blog. We return you now to our regularly scheduled lives.
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Minhaj gets a (mostly) standing ovation. Good work up there.
“This has been one of the strangest events I’ve ever done in my life,” Minhaj says.
Oh, rough HuffPost roast.
“Let’s go to the countdown clock to the next countdown clock.” WINNER!
CNN gags about its obsession with breaking news coulda been better.
“I have a lot more MSNBC jokes, but if I just stand up here and ramble on, I might get a show on MSNBC.”
Jokes about MSNBC’s obsession with prison shows are great. C’mon, crowd. Have some more champagne.
Fox News jokes. O’Reilly jokes. Watters jokes. More, please.
Kudos to the director for finding reaction shots of people laughing in the crowd.
Wide-eyed Minhaj giving it his best, but the crowd is just too … something. Unbiased, maybe?
“Nate Silver told me there was a 74.1% chance of that joke killing.”
Minhaj is doing pretty well. “Jeff Session couldn’t be here tonight — he was busy doing a pre-Civil War re-enactment. ON his RSVP, he just wrote no, which happens to be his second-favorite N word.”
Frederick Douglass and Mike Pence jokes go over like a Democratic pollster at a Ted Nugent concert.
Bernstien laughing at the head table.
“Even if you guys groan, I’ve already hired Kellyanne Conway to go on TV Monday and tell everyone I killed.”
To the journalists: “The longer you keep Trump distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea.”
Ooh, tough crowd. Reminds of last year when Larry Witmore had a rough go of it.
OK, let the Trump roasting begin!
“The leader of our country is not here — because he lives in Moscow.” Ding!
USA Today jokes aren’t exactly fresh. Not like the one about when the paper won its first Pulitzer — for Best Investigative Paragraph.
“I was explicitly told not to go after the administration,” Minhaj says. Ugh.
“What is Comedy Central? It’s basically an internship for Netflix.”
Like Saturday Night Live is an internship for NBC.
First presidential shout-out goes to Obama.
“Welcome to the series finale of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”
OK, here comes the professional comic. Let’s move this to the next level, please.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Hasan Minhaj.”
Nicely done, Woodward and Bernstein. Hoping against hope that Redford and Hoffman crash the place.
“Mr. President, the media is not fake news.” But maybe it’s alternative facts?
Woodward touts Ben Bradlee who “gave us the precious luxury of time to pursue all leads, even something small. Now, in 2017, the impatience and speed of the Internet and our own rush can disable and undermine the most important tool of journalism.” Will that fit on a T-shirt? I want to market them.
Yeah, ol Bob’s not a riveting orator either. But I’d listen to this journalist read local cop logs.
Woodward at the mic.
Great lines — and they remind me of one of maybe three French phrases I know: “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”
Bernstein: “The people with the information we want should not be pigeonholed or pre-judged by their ideology or their politics. Almost all of our sources in Watergate were people who had at one time or another been committed to Richard Nixon and his presidency.”
Shout-out to Mark Felt. RIP “Deep Throat.”
“Unreasonable government secrecy is the enemy.” OK, but the line where government secrecy becomes reasonable is a dodgy one.
Bernstein on Nixon: “We tried to ignore the noise and let the reporting speak.”
Bernstein we see on CNN frequently, but Woodward has been less visible. Good to see them together.
OK, these guys are 1 and 1A on the White House investigative journalism Mount Rushmore.
Hey Jeff, don’t start by saying Woodward and Bernstein need no introduction and then give one. Sheesh.
And if you came here looking for snark about what the press corps people are wearing — or who they are wearing — you’ve come to the wrong place. To me, they look like, y’know, clothes.
Jeff Mason’s two most-applauded words: “And lastly…” (OK, not true but apt.)
OK, really, time to move on, folks. The midterms elections are looming.
Wait, maybe that’s Melissa McCarthy impersonating Jeff Mason. Now I get it!
WHCA exec director Julie Whiston retiring after a quarter-century. Even she couldn’t deal with this administration.
That was the tease-iest Alec Baldwin video appearance ever.
Oh, “pool reports” — I thought he said, “Everybody into the pool.” Damn…
Although WHCA’s Mason is aptly named because he’s about as exciting a speaker as watching grout harden.
On a day when we mark the 25th anniversary of the start of the Los Angeles riots, let’s hope they burn-baby-burn the current administration.
Another standing-O for the 2017 WHCA scholars. Two questions for these budding journalists: Isn’t journalism the sociology major of the 2010s? Do you parents know you’re getting into this field?
Woodward and Bernstein are in the house but not all the president’s men.
Roughly 47% of the U.S. population disagrees with that.
WHCA chief just drew a standing ovation with this line: “We are not the enemy of the American people.”
What, no flag lapel pins? These sleazy anti-American journalists.
“We are here to celebrate the press, not the president,” WHCA president Jeff Mason says. No wonder Trump skipped it.
Let’s gets this fractured party started.
“You’re not supposed to be sycophants, you’re supposed to be skeptics,” Obama told the White House press corps a few years back. Sure seems like longer ago than that…
Reagan talking about “1,700 daily newspapers” following the president. That was the ’80s — talk about “trickle-down.”
Pre-show talking about Nixon’s infamous showdown with the Washington media in 1973. “One can only be angry with those he respects.” Big smile. Oof.
Still waiting for this thing to start.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few zingers here and there — and ideally everywhere. We’ll try to keep things interesting here while they hand out scholarship and such at the Hilton.
Not sure how tonight is going to play out, as we’ve heard talk that it won’t be a nonstop bashfest of the absent POUTS and his first 100 days in office.
Who can forget him ending with “Obama out.”
Wilmore had a rough go at the 2016 event, but then Ol’ Dependable Obama took the room to another level with his unforced humor and a literal mic drop.
Comedy relief provider Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show will provide tonight’s entertainment, a year after Larry Wilmore used a “colloquialism” to describe then-President Obama.
Welcome to Deadline’s live blog of the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.