President Donald Trump said ahead of his trip to Southern California on Friday that he won’t attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner next month. It will mark the third year in a row POTUS has skipped out on the event, where some of the nation’s most prominent journalists gather.
Trump told reporters Friday on the South Lawn when asked about attending that he would counterprogram the event with a political rally as he’s done in the past.
“Yeah, because the dinner is so boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally,” he said, according to pool reports. “And we haven’t determined — we have about three sites. Everybody wants it. It’ll be a big one. But the correspondents’ dinner is too negative. I like positive things.”
The WHCD had been known for its choice of emcees — usually a comic or late-night host who in the spirit of the evening takes jabs at the spheres of politics, government and of course Presidents. Last year, comic Michelle Wolf did the honors and pulled few punches — including digs at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that drew criticism from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In November, event organizer the White House Correspondents’ Association announced its 2019 annual dinner would bypass the roast approach and instead be emceed by historian Ron Chernow. The shift piqued Trump’s interest at the time.
“So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that this year, for the first time in decades, they will have an author instead of a comedian,” he wrote on Twitter. “Good first step in comeback of a dying evening and tradition! Maybe I will go?”
Meanwhile, TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee will tape its second “not-annual” Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner special April 26 to air opposite the WHCD the next night, April 27.
Trump is headed to San Diego today for a border wall event before heading to Los Angeles later in the day for a fundraiser.