Toned-down White House press dinner carries on without Trump




  • In US
  • 2017-04-30 03:41:49Z
  • By Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House press corps gathered on Saturday for its annual black-tie dinner, a toned-down affair this year after Donald Trump snubbed the event, becoming the first incumbent U.S. president to bow out in 36 years.

Without Trump, who scheduled a rally instead to mark his 100th day in office, the usually celebrity-filled soiree hosted by the White House Correspondents' Association took a more sober turn, even as it pulled in top journalists and Washington insiders.

Most of Trump's administration also skipped the event in solidarity with the president, who has repeatedly accused the press of mistreatment. The president used his campaign-style gathering to again lambaste the media.

"I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away," he told a crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, calling out The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC by name.

In Washington, WHCA President Jeff Mason defended press freedom even as he acknowledged this year's dinner had a different feel, saying attempts to undermine the media was dangerous for democracy.

"We are not fake news, we are not failing news organizations and we are not the enemy of the American people," said Mason, a Reuters correspondent.

Instead of the typical roasts - presidents of both parties have delivered their own zingers for years - the event returned to its traditional roots of recognizing reporters' work and handing out student scholarships as famed journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein presented awards.

"That's not Donald Trump's style," NBC News' Andrea Mitchell told MSNBC, referring to the self-deprecating jokes presidents in the past have made despite tensions with the press.

Instead, the humor fell to headline comedian Hasan Minhaj.

"Welcome to the series finale of the White House correspondents' dinner," Minhaj, who plays a correspondent on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" program, told the crowd.

He also joked about Trump, despite organizers' wishes, saying he did so to honor U.S. constitutional protection of free speech: "Only in America can a first-generation, Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president."

In a video message, actor Alec Baldwin, who has raised Trump's ire playing him on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" program also encouraged attendees.

Few other celebrities graced the red carpet, although some well-known Washingtonians, such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California, appeared.

Trump attended in 2011, when then-President Barack Obama made jokes at the expense of the New York real estate developer and reality television show host.

In an interview with Reuters this week, Trump said he decided against attending as president because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the media, adding: "I would come next year, absolutely."

In Pennsylvania, Trump told supporters the media dinner would be boring but was noncommittal on whether he would go in 2018 or hold another rally.

Late night television show host Samantha Bee also hosted a competing event - "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" - that she said would honor journalists, rather than skewer Trump.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in Washington and Patrick Rucker in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

COMMENTS

More Related News

'We're embarrassed too': How John Kelly reacted to Donald Trump's threats against North Korea
'We're embarrassed too': How John Kelly reacted to Donald Trump's threats against North Korea

John Kelly, Donald Trump's chief-of-staff, appeared to go through an "existential crisis" on Tuesday, social media users joked, as he listened to the president's address to the UN General Assembly. Mr Trump used his maiden address to the world's leaders to escalate his standoff with North Korea over its nuclear challenge, threatening to "totally destroy" the country of 26 million people and mocking its leader, Kim Jong-un, as a "rocket man." A great and important day at the United Nations.Met with leaders of many nations who agree with much (or all) of what I stated in my speech!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2017 It was...

Trump takes 'America First' to wary U.N. audience
Trump takes 'America First' to wary U.N. audience

President Trump will use his maiden speech to the U.N. General Assembly to condemn Iran, call for global action on North Korea, and unapologetically defend his nationalistic "America First" stance before wary world leaders, administration officials said. Chinese President Xi Jinping is skipping the annual diplomatic crush in New York, but Trump will at least implicitly criticize Beijing in his Tuesday speech for not doing enough to tighten an economic vise on North Korea.

Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West
Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that four large national monuments in the West be reduced in size, potentially opening up hundreds of thousands of acres of land revered for natural beauty ...

Hillary Clinton Won't Rule Out Questioning The Legitimacy Of Donald Trump's Election
Hillary Clinton Won't Rule Out Questioning The Legitimacy Of Donald Trump's Election

Hillary Clinton opened the door to possibly questioning whether Donald Trump was legitimately elected president, depending on the outcome of investigations into Russia's role in the 2016 campaign.

Trump
Trump's week anchored by speech to UN General Assembly

NEW YORK (AP) - President Donald Trump is making his debut at the United Nations and taking his complaints about the world body straight to the source.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.