Trump announces he will skip White House press dinner

The announcement comes after reporters from several media outlets were barred from the daily briefing at the White House on Friday.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The last time a president did not attend the White House press dinner without reasons related to health or safety was in 1972, according to NPR. Richard Nixon refused to attend; Trump like Nixon sees the press as combative.

Updated Feb 27, 2017

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, a high-profile event that draws celebrities, politicians, and journalists.

On the campaign trail and in the White House, Trump has had a tense relationship with the press, calling some journalists "the enemy of the people" and frequently criticising certain outlets.

The journalists' group said it would go ahead with its April 29 dinner despite Trump's absence. 

On Friday, the Guardian, New York Times, Buzzfeed and Politico and others said they were excluded from an off-camera White House press briefing which was initially scheduled as the daily press talk held on camera. Reporters from media outlets seen as conservative or more Trump-friendly were allowed to attend the gaggle with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer inside his West Wing office.

In previous years, presidents have often used the correspondents' dinner as a chance to show off their sense humour.

President George W Bush joked that his mother was a fan of rocker Ozzy Osbourne to laughter and applause.

Former US president Barack Obama, who over two tenures became known for his sharp wit, in 2011, poked fun at those who questioned his citizenship, including Trump.

Obama delivered a scathing evisceration of Trump, joking that the mogul, who sat stone-faced in the audience, would move on from questioning Obama's citizenship to figuring out "did we fake the moon landing?"

"Obviously we know of your credentials and breadth of experience," Obama said of Trump who used to star on the television show, "Celebrity Apprentice."

The former president's famous "Obama out" at his final White House correspondents' dinner is now one of the most iconic mic drops.

Former US President Ronald Reagan was the last president to sit out the event after he was shot in 1981.


TRTWorld and agencies