A Friday announcement by the White House that President Donald Trump will not attend the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner this year came as no surprise, considering that Trump did not attend during his first year in office and has maintained a hostile stance toward the American press.
Just hours after his decision was announced, Trump took a stab at the “Fake News Media” again on Twitter:
Amid his and his press office’s antagonistic relationships with the news media, the president did not attend the annual gala last year either. The event is typically a cozy mix of journalists and politicians, but during the first year of the Trump administration, it turned into an event for press freedoms.
Mr. Trump has continued to dismiss news stories as “fake news” when he considers them unflattering to himself or to his administration. In recent days he has focused his attention on The Washington Post, its owner, Jeff Bezos, and the company that made Mr. Bezos among the richest people in the world, Amazon.
Though his decision to skip the event is consistent with last year’s choice, this year the president took a different approach and encouraged other White House staff to attend in his place.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, will represent the Trump administration at the head table, where presidents and first ladies have sat in the past.
Trump’s dismissal of the dinner last year was the first time a president failed to attend since Ronald Reagan missed the event in 1981 while recovering from an assassination attempt.