Trump to skip ‘so boring’ White House reporters’ dinner
Presidents traditionally attend the event, but Mr Trump has skipped it for the last two years.
Donald Trump says he will skip the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner again and hold a rally instead.
The president said he will hold one of his signature political rallies as counter-programming to the glitzy April 27 dinner, skipping the event for the third year in a row.
“The dinner is so boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally instead,” he said.
Presidents and first ladies have traditionally attended the event, a fundraiser for college scholarships where politicians, journalists and celebrities mix.
A number of reporting awards also are distributed at the dinner.
Trump has not attended since he took office, but had suggested he might appear this year after organisers scrapped the usual format featuring a comedian and instead invited Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow to speak.
Association president Olivier Knox said in a statement: “We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present and future.”
#WHCA President Olivier Knox on President Trump’s decision not to attend the association’s annual dinner April 27. “We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present, and future." @OKnox— WHCA (@whca) April 5, 2019
Mr Trump, who has long had an adversarial relationship with the news media, also held rallies on the same night as the dinner in 2017 and 2018.
Throughout his presidency he has criticised the “fake news media” and “dishonest” reporters, singling out specific journalists and news outlets.
He said his team has yet to settle on a location for his April 27 rally, but stressed: “It’ll be a big one.”
The association decided to shift to a featured speaker instead of a comic after a sharply anti-Trump performance last year by comedian Michelle Wolf that some thought was too pointed against White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and other White House staff.
So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that this year, for the first time in decades, they will have an author instead of a comedian. Good first step in comeback of a dying evening and tradition! Maybe I will go?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018
Mr Chernow, a biographer of presidents and statesmen including George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, is expected to speak about the importance of the First Amendment. Like many of his fellow historians, he strongly opposed Mr Trump’s candidacy in 2016 and labelled him a “demagogue”.
While Mr Trump has not attended the dinner as president, he has gone in the past. He was famously mocked by Barack Obama at the 2011 dinner.