President Trump Decides to Skip White House Press Dinner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
President Donald Trump (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he will not attend the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, a high-profile event that draws celebrities, politicians and journalists.

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

President Trump has had a strained relationship with the press calling journalists “the enemy of the people” and frequently criticizing outlets and individual reporters whose coverage he does not like.

The annual dinner will be held on April 29 in Washington.

Some news outlets such as Bloomberg News and the New Yorker have said they will not host the lavish after-parties that have been a fixture of past events.

On Friday, the White House excluded several major U.S. news organizations, including some it has criticized, from an off-camera briefing held by the White House press secretary.

Reporters for CNN, The New York Times, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed were not allowed into the session in the office of press secretary Sean Spicer, a decision that drew strong protests.

The event occasionally makes news: in 2011, President Barack Obama delivered a scathing evisceration of President Trump, joking that the mogul, who sat stone-faced in the audience, would move on from questioning Obama’s citizenship to figuring out “did we fake the moon landing.”

Critics say the event, which usually features a humorous speech by the sitting president, encourages journalists to cozy up to politicians they should cover aggressively.