Donald Trump is skipping the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year,” Trump tweeted to his followers on Saturday. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
The legendary event, known as the “nerd prom,” is traditionally attended by the president, with Barack Obama having joked in the past about the fun-loving undertone of the dinner. The news comes about a month after Trump, 70, was sworn in as President of the United States.
Trump has never hid his contempt for some new outlets, branding them as “fake news” for reporting stories that didn’t paint him in a favorable light. While giving a speech at CPAC earlier this week, Trump called the “fake media” the “enemy of the people” and vowed to do “something about it.”
In response to Trump’s news, WHCA President Jeff Mason said that they “took note” of the president’s statement and would continue to use the dinner to celebrate the “First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.”
“Of course the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is known [as] the prom of Washington, D.C., a term coined by political reporters who clearly never had the chance to go to an actual prom,” the former president has said.
On Sunday, Trump’s spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the president wasn’t elected to “to spend his time with reporters and celebrities,” according to the Associated Press.
She added that it’s “kind of naive of us to think that we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn’t there.”
The dinner, hosted by the White House Correspondents Association, is usually attended by not only political names, but also celebrities and other notable figures. It usually involves the roasting of the president by a comedian emcee, with proceeds given to charity.
Trump was notably absent from last year’s festivities, telling The Hill, “I’ve decided not to go. Do you know why? I would have a good time and the press would say I look like I wasn’t having a good time.”
The president has attended the dinner in the past as a celebrity attendee. In 2011 he famously got roasted by both emcee Seth Meyers and Obama and he was spotted looking stone-faced in the audience during the roast.
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Quipped Obama of Trump in his final WHCA dinner speech, “You’ve got a room full of reporters, cameras, celebrities. And he says no. Is this dinner too tacky for the Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? Is he at home? Eating a Trump Steak? Tweeting out insults? What is he doing?”
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“We’re not trying to supersede [the White House Correspondents’ Dinner],” Bee told The New York Times. “We just want to be there in case something happens — or doesn’t happen — and ensure that we get to properly roast the president.”
Trump’s tweet comes hot on the heels of Friday’s headlines chronicling how specific news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times and Politico, were barred from attending an informal White House briefing by press secretary Sean Spicer.