Trump orders administration officials not
to attend White House correspondents dinner
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[April 24, 2019]
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald
Trump, who bemoaned his treatment by the news media in a flurry of
tweets on Tuesday, has barred members of his staff and administration
from attending the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on
Saturday, officials said.
Trump had already said he would not attend the annual dinner, instead
scheduling a political rally in Wisconsin, but he had not decided
whether anyone from his staff could attend.
The decision that no one from his team could participate was announced
to White House staff and other representatives from the administration
by White House Cabinet Secretary Bill McGinley at their morning meeting,
It set off a scramble as many staffers had accepted invitations thinking
Trump would allow them to go.
"The president and members of his administration will not attend the
White House Correspondents' Dinner this year. Instead, Saturday evening,
President Trump will travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he will hold
a campaign rally," said a White House official.
Trump, who has denounced the mainstream news media as "fake news" and
routinely directs his supporters to watch the Fox News Channel, has not
attended the dinner since he became president in January 2017. He has
stopped his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, from conducting daily
The criticism has intensified following the release of a report from
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Russia's role in the 2016
In his report, Mueller did not establish that the Trump campaign engaged
in a criminal conspiracy with Russians to influence the election. The
report provided extensive details on Trump’s efforts to thwart Mueller’s
investigation but stopped short of concluding the president had
committed a crime.
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President Donald Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll
on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 22,
2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
In a morning tweet, Trump wrote: "In the “old days” if you were
President and you had a good economy, you were basically immune from
criticism. Remember, “It’s the economy stupid.”
"Today I have, as President, perhaps the greatest economy in
history...and to the Mainstream Media, it means NOTHING. But it
will!" he said.
The White House Correspondents' Association dinner has been attended
by presidents most years since the organization was founded in 1914.
The group raises money for scholarships and honors the U.S.
Constitution's "freedom of the press" First Amendment.
In recent decades, the group has had a comedian as entertainment.
But comedian Michelle Wolf's lampooning last year of White House
spokeswoman Sanders, who was seated nearby, drew so much criticism
that the association this year is bringing in historian Ron Chernow
"We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the
First Amendment and great journalists past, present, and future,"
said Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents'
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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