Once again President Trump has declined an invitation to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner. Who can blame him? This year, as he did last year, Trump will hold a rally on the night of Nerd Prom instead of subjecting himself to a crowd of hostile journalists, politicians, and celebrities.
The dinner isn’t a conservative-friendly event and all the cool kids go out of their way to trash Republicans. The event cements the opinion of those on the right that the press, especially in Washington, D.C., is biased against them. The evening is the time for back-slapping and kudos all around, reveling in egotistic recognition of each other. The attendees are not there to honor the president, they are there to honor themselves. It’s Hollywood on the Potomac.
“The dinner is boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to the southern border.
Trump repeated that the dinner is “too negative,” saying, “I like positive things, OK?”
In response, the WHCA president shrugged off President Trump’s rejection and said the show must go on. (The Hill)
“We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present, and future,” WHCA President Olivier Knox told The Hill when asked about Trump’s comments on Friday.
The dinner began as a venue to acknowledge journalism students and to raise money for scholarships. Scholarship recipients are acknowledged at the dinner.
In recent years, the keynote speaker has been a comedian or entertainer. Last year, foul-mouthed comedienne Michelle Wolf savaged conservatives in her remarks, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was sitting close by on the dais. It was Sanders’ first time at the dinner and the ‘jokes’ aimed at her were personal and nasty. Because of Wolf’s exceedingly ugly performance, this year the WHCA chose to pass on an invitation to an entertainer and went with an author instead. This year the guest speaker will be Ron Chernow, a presidential historian, and author. His topic will be freedom of the press. Sure, he leans liberal but maybe he’ll try to keep his own leanings in check. Yeah, right
Michelle Wolf launched into an attack of President Trump over his decision Friday. She said he just can’t take the jokes.
“He doesn’t have a big enough spine to attend. A person who can’t take someone making fun of them, I don’t really care about,” Wolf said.
The relationship between President Trump and the press has been a prickly one. If we are talking about bruised egos, most Americans, I think, would point to the press and how they respond as Trump calls them out for biased reporting. Most in the media no longer even bother to pretend to be opinion-free.
Tensions between the White House and the press corps, never warm to begin with, have grown increasingly strained over the president’s tenure. Trump has repeatedly called the media “fake news” and “the enemy of the people” in response to coverage he views as unfair. Press briefings, once a daily occurrence at the White House, have become rarities.
So, on April 27, President Trump will hold a big, beautiful rally with thousands of his supporters and it will be covered by the press who aren’t at the dinner. His rally will indeed be a positive experience, as they all are. Trump feeds off them and the crowds love it. A site hasn’t been announced yet. Last year, the rally was in Michigan.
I’ll end with a tidbit from Michelle Wolf’s appearance as emcee for Variety’s Power of Women luncheon Friday. She used the occasion to slap Joe Biden’s handsy behavior and his run for president. If only he’d get out of the way, maybe one of the women running could get the nomination.
“We have more women running for president than any other time in history. Let’s show them as much support as possible before eventually . . . rallying behind Joe Biden. When we’re behind him, he can’t touch us.”
Yeah, even Michelle Wolf knows none of those Democrat women are going to be President. At least not in 2020.