President Trump skipped the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., Saturday night for his own rally in Washington, Michigan. But the show went on without him.
The city's most prominent politicians, journalists and other political players gathered for the annual festivities in the nation's capital, where comedian and "The Daily Show" star Michelle Wolf blasted administration officials in a controversial performance.
The annual dinner of the weekend -- dubbed "nerd prom" by many in D.C. -- was marked by an odd mix of people. For instance, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against the president and his lawyer, said he met counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway Friday night at a party.
Not all Republicans in Washington shunned the media-focused event Saturday. A number of White House officials. who were present at parties around town Friday night, attended the dinner.
Updates from Saturday night's dinner are below.
Comedian Sherrod Small calls Wolf's routine "hilarious"
Comedian Sherrod Small called Wolf "hilarious" on CBSN Saturday night. "She really leaned in on a lot of people," Small said.
"I think she really made people laugh -- but it's kind of hard when you're hearing about yourself," Small said. "These dinners really turn into a roast, it's really turning into the comedy central roast and whoever they know about, they're going to get you."
Small admitted that politicans and members of the media "didn't sign up" to be roasted," but "you've got to take the licks."
While it appeared she hit Republicans and the Trump administration harder, Small said "that's where the story is."
As for some of the pushback that Wolf was more "intense" than previous years, Small said the level of roasting has gotten more extreme, "like everything else."
Some on Twitter bash Wolf's routine
Wolf's controversial routine was, unsurprisngly, debated on social media afterward. Conservatives in particular especially not happy, especially with Wolf's comments on abortion and Sarah Sanders.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer called Wolf's routine a "disgrace."
White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp the dinner is "why America hates the out of touch leftist media."
Her husband, lobbyist Matt Schlapp tweeted that they left early.
Federalist senior editor Mollie Heminway tweeted that Wolf's routine "reminds people why they utterly loathe the media and vote Trump."
Matt Drudge wondered why Sanders and Kellyanne Conway didn't walk out.
Conservative Stephen Miller tweeted that Wolf's routine could be an ad for the RNC.
Pro-Trump activist Jack Posobiec called Wolf's routine "sick."
Conservatives weren't the only ones who were disappointed in Wolf's roast. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who won an award earlier in the night, praised Sanders' reaction.
New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker also seemed disappointed.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny quote-tweeted Baker, writing he "couldn't agree more."
As did Austin-American Statesman columnist Ken Herman.
Politico's Kyle Cheney said Wolf "undermined an otherwise meaningful night."
Wolf didn't seem to be bothered by the Twitter outrage. She chimed in:
Wolf ends by calling out Flint water crisis
As Wolf headed off stage, she reminded those in the audience -- and viewers at home -- "Flint still doesn't have clean water!"
Flint, Michigan has been dealing with a yearslong crisis over lead-contaminated water sources. Earlier this month, Gov. Rick Snyder announced the state would no longer be providing residents with free bottled water. Michigan officials have said the lead levels in the city's water have not exceeded federal limits for about two years, but many Flint officials criticized the decision because water can still pick up lead when it flows through the tainted pipes.
The media isn't spared
Of course, Wolf didn't spare the media. She took on the cable networks, first saying that CNN "loves breaking news" and "broke it."
Then she turned her attention to Fox News, making a dark joke about its sexual harassment scandals. "Ladies, cover your drinks," she said.
Wolf said people wanted her to make jokes about Sean Hannity, but she couldn't because "this night is for journalists."
Wolf made some jokes about MSNBC's slogan "This Is Who We Are," comparing it to the NBC show "This Is Us."
She said congratulations to "Morning Joe" hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who are engaged. "It's like when a #Me Too works out," Wolf joked, referencing the hashtag women use to describe sexual harassment.
She then called Rachel Maddow "Peter Pan," saying that "instead of never growing up, she never gets to the point." The "Our Cartoon President" sketch had also teased Maddow's long lead-ins.
Wolf then took on Megyn Kelly, referencing Kelly's insistence on Fox News that Santa is white.
Wolf said she would spare print media because "it's illegal to go after endangered species."
But perhaps her harshest words were for the media, saying that nobody in the room wants to admit that Mr. Trump "helped make all of you."
"He has helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you're profiting off him - and if you're going to profit off him, you should at least give him money," she said.
Wolf takes on Sarah Sanders
Wolf didn't spare White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, saying she was "star struck" to see her at the dinner. "I love you as Aunt Lydia in 'Handmaid's Tale,'" Wolf said, referencing a character in the Hulu series.
"Every time Sarah stands up to the podium, I'm not really sure what you're going to get," Wolf said. "A press briefing , a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams - it's shirts and skins and this time, don't be such a little b**** Jim Acosta."
She added that she thinks Sanders is "resourceful -- she burns facts and then uses that ash to create the perfect smoky eye. Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's lies."
Wolf then went in on Sanders, saying she never knows "what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Sarah Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is Auntie Huckabee Sanders? What's an Uncle Tom for white women who disappoint other white women?" She answered her own joke, that it was Ann Coulter.
Wolf roasts Vice President
Wolf said she didn't want Mr. Trump to be impeached because then Vice President Mike Pence would become president. "Just when you think Trump is awful, you remember Mike Pence," she said.
She also mentioned that Pence won't go to dinner alone with a woman who isn't his wife. "When people first heard this, they were like 'that's crazy!'" Wolf said. "But now in this current climate they're like, 'that's a good witness.'"
Just before taking on Pence, Wolf had joked that she believed Mr. Trump was broke. She asked the audience to say "how broke is he" before she railed off a few jokes.
Michelle Wolf takes the stage
Michelle Wolf took to the stage, kicking things off with a joke that she has "no agenda" and doesn't want to get anything done -- "so members of Congress should feel right at home."
She joked that because it is 2018, "you can't shut me up, unless you are Michael Cohen and you send me $130,000."
"You can find me on Venmo under my porn star name, Reince Priebus," she said.
Paul Ryan: "I'm going to miss sparring with the press everyday"
House Speaker Paul Ryan did not attend this year, but he recorded a video message. He told the attendees that since he is retiring, he and his wife, Janna, are looking forward to "freshening up my LinkedIn page."
"You know, I'm looking forward to figuring out whatever's next for me, but I'm going to miss sparring with the press everyday," Ryan said.
Ryan also joked that he's worried about boredom, but former House Speaker John Boehner, who recently joined the board of marijuana company Acreage Holdings, had texted him that helps him "chill out." "Something to do with grass, I don't really know," Ryan joked.
He gave a message to the next generation of reporters: "Know that what you do matters. There's so much noise out there, but our republic does not work without an informed electorate. Pay attention to the policy, not just the personalities. Look at the human impact, not just the horse race. And above all, challenge yourself to challenge us in public office. Because What you do really matters. It provides transparency and accountability. Done right, journalists can not just inform, but empower citizens. Of course, we don't always agree on what's right and what's fair, but that push and pull makes us both better - it creates a higher standard. It's part of the genius of this country. It will endure through any turbulent time."
He then lifted a Miller Lite as a "cheers to the First Amendment" and the scholarship winners.
White House Correspondents' Association president says tradition will "stand the currents of time"
White House Correspondents' Association president Margaret Talev opened the evening, saying they "reject the efforts" by anyone to "undermine journalism as un-American." Without mentioning Mr. Trump's absence directly, she noted that presidents have been attending since the days of Calvin Coolidge.
"U.S. presidents have attended this dinner nearly every year since Calvin Coolidge's days. And that's a tradition we believe will withstand the currents of time," she said.
Show opens with "Our Cartoon President"
The entertainment portion opened with a sketch from "Our Cartoon President," which airs on Showtime. The announced said the cartoon version of President Trump a "surprise guest." In the sketch, the cartoon president said he would attend if his demands were met, including "someone tranquilizing Jim Acosta."
The video also featured a tribute to The New York Times' Maggie Haberman, who is deeply sourced within the White House. The video showed a montage of Haberman and Mr. Trump with "Where did we go wrong" playing in the background.
"Congratulations to tonight's honorees - I look forward to locking you all up in the upcoming years," the cartoon said.
Ty Herndon sings "God Bless America"
A gong rang out around 7:30, signaling it was time to start the dinner and country music star Ty Herndon sang "God Bless America." Herndon is a guest of Fox News, according to The Washington Post.
Trump wraps up Michigan rally
Mr. Trump finished speaking at the Washington, Michigan rally just before 9 p.m. In addition to his comments about the D.C. press corps, he also touched on his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the migrant "caravan" that is nearing the border at Tijuana, the Ronny Jackson controversy and Kanye West.
Mr. Trump also slammed news coverage of the meeting questioning his role in setting up the summit with Kim.
"What do you think President Trump had to do with it?" Mr. Trump said. "I'll tell you what. How about everything."
Mr. Trump talked about his pending summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and said it could take place in 3 to 4 weeks. "Strength will keep us out of nuclear war," he said Saturday. "I'm not gonna be a John Kerry who makes a horrible Iran deal."
"Are you watching that mess with the caravan coming up. Our walls are so weak," Mr. Trump said blaming senior Democrats for "weak" immigration laws. "We have the worst laws anywhere in the world."
Trump won't be attending White House Correspondents' Dinner
President Trump is not attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner for the second year in a row. He opted instead to hold a campaign-style rally in Washington, Michigan.
But he hasn't forgotten about D.C. He told the crowd in Michigan he would rather be with "much better people" than the D.C. press corps.
"They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents Dinner without the president," Mr. Trump said last year. "And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?"
Michelle Wolf to host White House Correspondents' Dinner
"Daily Show" comedian Michelle Wolf will headline the White House Correspondents' Dinner Saturday, the second year in a row President Trump will not be attending.
"Does that make it better for you as a comedian or harder for you that the president is not there? Would you rather the president be in the room?" CBS News' Jamie Wax asked Wolf.
"I like making fun of people to their face more than anything, like, more than behind their back," she said. "It's nicer to make fun of someone when they're there."
"I think it's cowardly not to go," she said. "I think it's-- the only other person that didn't go was Reagan when he was shot. And he called in."
At the end of the day, she said she wants people at the dinner to say, "Those were funny jokes."
"I'm not tryin' to ... make some sort of bigger point or anything. I just want people to be like, 'It was really funny," she said.
She added: "I'll be really happy when it's over. It's a homework assignment."
Wolf has created a fast-rising career for herself by being a standout stand-up. Whether it's talk show appearance slots at high-profile charity events, or her currently streaming HBO special "Nice Lady," Wolf has been consistently singled out for the quality of her comedic craftsmanship.
"I think it's important to have, like-- to feel like people are seeing, like, even if it's just five minutes, like, a little show. You know? Where you're just like, 'No, I did this for you.' It wasn't just a small collection of jokes. It was like, 'No, I made you a little thing. I made you a meal,'" Wolf said.