Trump not attending White House correspondents’ dinner

Washington, Feb 26 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has announced that he will not attend this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a move that comes amid increasingly hostile relations between the media and his administration, a media report said.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

The black-tie dinner, which raises money for journalism scholarships, takes place every year and is usually attended by the President, journalists and celebrities, CNN reported.

The last President to miss the dinner was Ronald Reagan, who sat out because he was recovering from an assassination attempt in 1981, although he still delivered remarks by phone.

Several news organisations had already withdrawn from the April 29 event in protest of Trump’s treatment of the media.

Vanity Fair and Bloomberg, which usually co-host an exclusive, star-studded after-party, have cancelled the gala, while The New Yorker magazine similarly cancelled its pre-party.

Most other news organisations, including CNN, are yet to announce their official plans for the event.

But some are said to be rethinking their attendance in the wake of the White House’s decision to block CNN, The New York Times and other outlets from an off-camera White House press briefing on Friday.

White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Mason told CNN on Saturday that Trump’s decision was not surprising given the negative things the President has said about the media, such as suggesting they were “the enemy of the American people”.

“That of course is something that the correspondents’ association and journalists reject,” Mason said. “The media is an incredibly important part of a vibrant republic, and we celebrate that at that dinner,” Mason said.

“It’s up to him to decide whether or not he wants to come,” he added.

Mason said, “But the correspondents’ association and the members who work in this room every day will continue to do our job and write the news and tell the truth about this administration, as we have done about every administration before.”

–IANS

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