Trump to skip White House correspondents’ dinner

U.S. President Donald Trump has announced he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on 29 April.

The glitzy event draws celebrities, journalists and politicians, normally including Trump.

Trump said he would not attend a day after the White House excluded several major broadcasters and newspapers from a press briefing.

He has frequently described negative news coverage as fake.

However, he has not provided any evidence for his claims.

The announcement comes as relations between the White House and some media outlets continue to deteriorate.

On Friday, the BBC, CNN, Buzzfeed, and the New York Times were among media groups barred from an off-camera informal briefing held by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Hours before the briefing, Trump had delivered a strong attack on what he called fake news in the media, targeting stories with unnamed sources.

He said fake news was the enemy of the people.

Trump announced his non-attendance at the correspondents’ dinner via Twitter.

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

Bloomberg News and the New Yorker magazine are among media outlets who have said that they will not hold their usual after-parties this year.

There have been some calls for journalists to boycott the event itself.

•Began in 1921, with Calvin Coolidge the first president to attend, in 1924

•Cancelled a few times, including in 1930 after the death of ex-President William Taft, in 1942 following the U.S. entry into World War Two, and again in 1951

•Rarely skipped by sitting presidents. Richard Nixon avoided it in 1972, Jimmy Carter cited exhaustion in 1978 and Ronald Reagan, who was the last to miss it in 1981, did so only because he had been shot and was recovering at Camp David

•John F Kennedy threatened to withdraw unless women were allowed to attend, which they were

•Only became the now-traditional roasting of the president event in 1983

•Some of the events have been particularly tough on presidents. Stephen Colbert’s turn in 2006 prompted several of George W Bush’s aides to walk out

Every sitting president since 1924 has attended the correspondents’ dinner at least once, according to the New York Times.

They traditionally make a light-hearted speech at the annual event. Former U.S. President Barack Obama attended eight times.

Trump has been a regular at the dinner in the recent past.

In 2011, Barack Obama joked that Mr Trump would turn the White House into a casino if he became president and made fun of rumours, then propagated by Trump, that President Obama was not born in the U.S.

The New York businessman was shown on camera sitting stony-faced through a barrage of jokes at his expense, including some from host Seth Meyers, although he said last year that he loved that dinner.

Many believe that the 2011 event fuelled Trump’s desire to enter politics and later run for office.

In a statement the White House Correspondents’ Association said it took note of the president’s announcement and said the dinner would continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.

Source: BBC