There’s no love lost between Donald Trump and the press, and yet it still came as somewhat of a shock when the president announced he would be skipping the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.
Now, he’s finally explained why he’s made this decision.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017
And where else would Trump go to give an interview than with Fox and Friends?
In a slightly bizarre moment, Trump agrees that he can accept criticism when it’s deserved – and yet he can’t think of a time he made a mistake. Instead, he uses the opportunity to hit out at fake news. He says: “I believe that a lot of the sources are made up, a lot of the stories are made up. I believe a lot of stories are pure fiction, they just pull it out of air.”
The White House Correspondents Dinner was first started in 1921 to pay tribute to the best political journalism of the year, and it also helped build a positive relationship between the press and the president’s administration. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Trump is the first president to not attend the dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981 – Reagan was then recovering from an assassination attempt and still apparently managed to phone in to the event.
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
So, Trump’s reasoning behind missing the historic dinner is down to fake news. He also says in the interview that he has “great respect” for the press and journalists, but him attending the dinner would be inappropriate. However, not everyone is so convinced that he does indeed have “great respect” for the press.
In fact, Trump recently denounced fake news in the media, calling multiple mainstream media outlets “the enemy of the American People!”
Not only this, but last week the White House blocked several news outlets including CNN and the New York Times from attending an informal briefing.
However, the president’s nonattendance doesn’t seem to bother the White House Correspondents’ Association, who organise the event. In a statement, the WHCA president Jeff Mason said: “We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year.”