US & Canada

President Trump to skip White House correspondents' dinner

Media captionDonald Trump has been in the past - here are some highlights from previous presidents

US 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 the US president.

Mr 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, Mr 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".

Media captionSean Spicer is challenged about selected media being barred from his press briefing

Mr 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 they will not hold their usual after-parties this year.

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


The annual dinner

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Barack Obama at the 2013 event
  • 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 US entry into World War Two, and again in 1951
  • Rarely skipped by sitting presidents. Richard Nixon avoided it in 1972 and 1974, and Jimmy Carter in 1978 and 1980. 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, but he still made contact by phone
  • 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 US President Barack Obama attended eight times.

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

Image copyright AP
Image caption Donald and Melania Trump at the 2011 event

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 Mr Trump, that President Obama was not born in the US.

Obama sends up Trump's ambitions at 2011 dinner

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 Mr 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".

Related Topics

More on this story