Trump to skip correspondents’ dinner as media row heats up
US President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a high-profile event that draws celebrities, politicians and journalists.world Updated: Feb 26, 2017 22:25 IST
US President Donald Trump has said he will skip this year’s annual dinner hosted by the White House press corps, intensifying an ongoing war against a section of the news media that he and several aides have accused of being hostile to him and journalists.
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year,” Trump tweeted on Saturday, becoming the first president in 38 years to miss the dinner, an annual event whose highlight is a light speech by the president.
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) February 25, 2017
“Please wish everyone well and have a great evening,” he added.
On Friday, the White House press office had blocked major news outlets such as the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, BuzzFeed, and Politico from attending a briefing by press secretary Sean Spicer. Several other outfits such as The Associated Press, TIME and The Washington Post stayed away too in solidarity with those barred.
Trump’s month-long presidency has been hit by a slew of critical news reports over a senior aide’s lying about his dealings with Russia and subsequent firing, links of others from his campaign to Russian intelligence, a messy rollout of a controversial travel ban against visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority nations, and infighting among top staff.
In a now-famous 77-minute news briefing, Trump accused media of reporting “fake news”, and had claimed his administration was working like a “fine-tuned machine”. He and aides have since kept up his tirade against the media.
His chief strategist Steven Bannon called the media the “opposition party”, which, he told a conference of conservatives, will not let Americans get back their country without a fight. The day after his remarks, the president used the same platform for escalate his attacks on the media, and repeated his charge they were “the enemy of the people”.
Later that day, the press office blocked several media outlets form the briefing, and the president followed that up with a tweet on Saturday that he will be not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
The White House press corps said it will go ahead with the dinner anyway, saying: “The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump's announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.”