President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will not attend the annual White House correspondents dinner this year.
The annual gathering, hosted by the White House Correspondents Association, is usually attended by the president, reporters from media outlets that cover the White House, and celebrities.
Trump’s announcement, which gave no reason, came after a sustained attack on the media. He recently called news organizations “the enemy,” and the White House on Friday excluded several major outlets, The Huffington Post among them, from a press briefing.
Bloomberg and Vanity Fair, which host one of the hottest parties in Washington the weekend of the annual dinner, have announced they would not hold the event this year. CNN, frequently criticized by Trump, has been contemplating sitting out the dinner.
As HuffPost’s Jason Linkins pointed out, media hand-wringing over the dinner may be a “tired genre,” as the event has long been an insular and clubby affair between newsmakers and Beltway journalists.
The annual dinner also features a roast of the president by a comedian ― something that may not have gone over with the notoriously thin-skinned Trump.
Jeff Mason, White House Correspondents Association president, acknowledged Trump’s announcement. “We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession,” Mason said in a statement.
Trump has been stung by the event before ― in 2011, when then-President Barack Obama roasted him. At the time, Trump had been falsely claiming that Obama was not born in the United States and was pushing him to release his birth certificate.
The first White House correspondents dinner was held in 1921, and the first president to attend was Calvin Coolidge in 1924, according to the White House Correspondents’ Association website. Proceeds from the dinner go toward scholarships for aspiring journalists.