WASHINGTON — With President Donald Trump staying away, “The Daily Show’s” Hasan Minhaj is set to headline this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner.
In a press release, the comedian made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the president’s Twitter style, saying: “It is a tremendous honor to be a part of such a historic event even though the president has chosen not to attend this year. SAD!”
“Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” he said.
Trump indicated shortly after his inauguration in January that he would not attend the event, referencing his heated relationship with the press. White House staff said they too would not be attending “in solidarity.”
“I just thought in light of the fact of fake news and all of the other stuff we’re talking about now, it would be inappropriate,” Trump said in February, adding: “I have great respect for the press, I have great respect for reporters and the whole profession. With all of that being said, I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do the dinner. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it next year.”
WHCA President Jeff Mason made the announcement on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday, saying the April 29 dinner will be “different” without Trump. In a statement, Mason says the event “will be focused on the First Amendment and the importance of a robust and independent media.”
“The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which US presidents have attended for decades, supports the work of the WHCA. Proceeds fund the organization and go toward scholarships and awards aimed at promoting aspiring journalists and recognizing excellence in the journalism profession,” Mason went on.
Trump was famously the butt of jokes from President Barack Obama at the 2011 dinner.
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