Correspondents’ Dinner snub is another jab at the press by Trump
In 1921, the White House Correspondents’ Association started the annual Correspondents’ Dinner. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, also known as the Nerd Prom, has become an annual event attended by the press, celebrities, politicians and, usually, the President of the United States. The purpose of the dinner is to raise money for scholarships for journalism students. It is a night headlined by comedians and remarks made by the president.
The event has become a time for the press and the president to make fun of each other. It is all in good fun, but often the comedy hits on real issues. In the past, President Obama, gave remarks concerning his birth certificate, the 2016 election and the press.
In 2011, comedian Seth Meyers and Obama made comments about the now-President Donald Trump. Trump sat stone-faced through jokes like, “Donald Trump has said he’s running for president as a Republican — which is surprising because I thought he was running as a joke,” and, “Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a vice president.”
Trump was expressionless throughout the remarks of both Meyers and Obama, and though he said last year that he loved the dinner, it is clear that relations between Trump, comedians and the press have only gone downhill from there.
Since becoming president, Trump has called several news organizations “fake news,” called the press the enemy of the people and banned many news organizations from a small press briefing with White House press secretary Sean Spicer. He has made it clear that he doesn’t want to include the press in any part of his presidency, and has done his best to discredit any and all news sources that criticize him.
Due to all of his interactions with the press, I was disappointed, but not surprised, to hear that Trump has decided to not attend. “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted.
Trump will be the first president in 36 years to skip the dinner. The last president to skip the dinner was Ronald Reagan after he was shot in an assassination attempt. He was not able to make it, but he still called in to make his remarks. While Reagan was not the first to miss the dinner, it was often done in a way to make a political stance, but every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the event at least once.
Trump’s decision to skip the dinner is unsurprising because he has had a history of not being able to take a joke. He has repeatedly tweeted about Saturday Night Live making fun of him, calling it “unwatchable.” His thin skin has been the butt of several jokes, but now he seems to have had enough.
Trump has made it clear that he has no love for the press, but now he is removing one of their main platforms, which supports the continuation of journalism. This goes further towards Trump’s goal of removing journalism from government.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is one of the most important events of the year, and Trump is making it clear that he doesn’t value the journalism as a profession.
Every week since Trump has become president, there has been an incident where he tries to limit the press in some way. Whether it be by lying to the press, or refusing to let the New York Times and CNN into an event, he has done everything he can to limit the press. If he feels like the a news source is being harsh, they are “fake news.” Everything is the press’s fault.
Trump has created a hostile environment between him and the press, and it feels like every week, I am writing about Trump finding a new way to limit journalism. But, until he decides to back off journalism, I will continue to cover it. Every week. Journalism is one of the core foundations of our society, and until Trump recognizes the importance of the freedom of the press.