I posted yesterday how my Republican representatives—Senator Rob Portman and Representative Jim Renacci—are running for cover (along with many others Republican members of Congress), but silly me, I thought presidential Donald John Trump would show some class and backbone. Dang, was I wrong. Martin Pengelly, writing in Donald Trump will not attend White House correspondents’ dinner for The Guardian (now an honored member of the president’s fake news club) explains:
Donald Trump on Saturday capped a week of tumultuous relations with the press by saying he will not attend this year’s White House correspondents’ dinner, which is scheduled for 29 April.
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
The news came as relations between the Trump administration and the news media, which he has called “the enemy of the American people”, have sunk to new lows. On Friday, leading outlets including the New York Times, CNN and the Guardian were excluded from a briefing by press secretary Sean Spicer while friendlier conservative organisations were admitted.
Editors of excluded organisations expressed anger, although White House Correspondents Association president Jeff Mason, of Reuters, attempted to calm troubled waters.
In a statement on Saturday, Mason said the WHCA:
looks forward to having its annual dinner. 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.
We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession.
President Ronald Wilson Reagan skipped the inner in 1981, after being shot. He did call in to the event and exchanged banter with attendees. President Richard Milhous Nixon skipped the dinner in 1972. Trump is in good company.