President Trump will not attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner this year, continuing a boycott that began his first year in office, the White House announced on Friday, but the president will “actively encourage” members of his administration to go in celebration of the First Amendment.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will attend the White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) this year in place of President Trump, the White House Correspondents’ Association announced Friday.
The president did not attend the annual gala last year, amid his and his press office’s antagonistic relationships with the news media. The dinner — typically a cozy mix of journalists and politicians — last year turned into an event for press freedoms.
Last year’s boycott marked the first time a president had skipped the Washington tradition since Ronald Reagan in 1981, when Mr. Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt.
The annual event — streamed live on television — features a comedian who roasts the president and the administration, and the president typically returns the gesture to the press. Mr. Trump, himself, was mocked at the dinner in 2011 by both comedian Seth Meyers and President Barack Obama. This year, Michelle Wolf, a stand-up comic and frequent contributor to “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” will be the featured comedian.