Trump: I won’t attend correspondents dinner

Trump boycotts White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, boosts media battle.

President Donald Trump, a critic of the news media , says he won’t attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — sparing himself the dubious honor of being an in-house target of jokes.

The annual fundraiser for college scholarships and traditionally light-hearted affair mixes politicians, journalists and celebrities and is typically attended by the President and First Lady. Remarks by a comedian, often roasting the president, and a humorous address by the President himself, often lampooning the press and political opponents, have highlighted the event, which C-SPAN broadcasts live.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” He gave no reason for not attending.

Trump has long had an adversarial relationship with news media. Since taking office he has stepped up his criticism, accusing some prominent news outlets of publishing “fake news” and calling them, “the enemy of the American People!”

As a beauty pageant owner and reality TV star, Trump was a regular at the WHCA dinner. Though he skipped the dinner in April 2016, he was the target of many jokes. The event occurred during the presidential campaign and was the last of the dinners honoring President Barack Obama. At one point Obama told guests that Trump, “has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world — Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan.”

If he attended the dinner Trump would be a prime target of jokes with the camera filming his reaction to one-liners. In 2011, he was on hand — and appeared humiliated — as Obama lobbed jokes at his expense. At the time Trump was a proponent of the debunked claim that Obama wasn’t born in the US.

In a statement following Trump’s tweet, WHCA President Jeff Mason said, “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.”

By: AP