White House staff said Tuesday that they won’t be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner out of “solidarity” with President Trump, who announced last month that he would not be attending the annual event.
“The WHCA board regrets this decision very much. We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic,” White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) President Jeff Mason said in a message to members.
The dinner, however, will go on as planned.
“We will celebrate the First Amendment on April 29 and look forward to acknowledging the important work of our terrific members and awarding scholarships to students who represent the next generation of our profession.”
Mr. Trump had announced in late February that he wouldn’t attend the dinner, which came a day after the White House barred journalists from a slew of top news organization from attending an off-camera briefing with press secretary Sean Spicer.
The correspondents’ dinner began in 1920 and has usually included an appearance each year from the sitting president, including President Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The first president to attend the dinner was Calvin Coolidge in 1924.