President Donald Trump on Tuesday night praised the decision by the White House Correspondents’ Association to break its tradition of featuring a comedian at its annual dinner, and suggested he may attend the dinner for the first time in his presidency.
The WHCA on Monday announced that it had invited Ron Chernow, a presidential historian and author, to speak at its annual dinner, which is typically known for featuring a stand-up set by a popular comedian. The event has been dubbed “nerd prom” and prior to Trump’s presidency, was a huge draw for celebrities. But some say it posed an ethical quandary for journalists to spend the night hamming it up with the same administration officials they are tasked with covering each day.
Last year’s featured entertainer at the dinner, comedian Michelle Wolf, set off a firestorm with her polarizing jokes criticizing press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who sat on the dais beside her with a straight face. Wolf’s set prompted condemnation on the right and even some on the left agreed her jokes had crossed the line. Trump slammed Wolf at the time and on Tuesday indicated that he was still bothered by the jokes.
“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,” he wrote in a tweet.
Trump, who has lambasted the event since he hit the political scene and some of the jokes began to target him, has not been to the dinner since he was sworn into office, eschewing the presidential tradition of putting aside grievances with the press for one night to celebrate the First Amendment.
But on Tuesday he indicated that he was pleased with the WHCA’s progress.
“Good first step in comeback of a dying evening and tradition!” he said, suggesting “Maybe I will go?”
Wolf ripped the WHCA for its announcement Monday, writing on Twitter that “The @whca are cowards. The media is complicit. And I couldn’t be prouder.”
And on Tuesday, Wolf took a shot at Trump’s recent admission that his administration wouldn’t punish Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, responding to the president’s tweet about the dinner with: “I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist. #BeBest” – the hashtag a reference to first lady Melania Trump’s anti-bullying initiative.
Publication: Politico/ Trump Says He May Attend Next WHCA Dinner After News it Won’t Feature Comedian