World / Politics

Trump hints at attending White House Correspondents’ Dinner after news that main speaker won’t be comedian

Reuters, Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that it was a “good first step of a dying evening and tradition” for the White House Correspondents’ Association to feature a historian, not a comedian, at its annual event to be held next spring.

“So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year at the white house correspondents’ dinner that this year, for the first time in decades, they will have an author instead of a comedian,” he wrote in a Twitter post.

“Maybe I will go?” said Trump, who has repeatedly derided some media organizations as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people,” and who has refused to attend the dinner during his first two years in office.

On Monday, the White House Correspondents’ Association said Ron Chernow, who has written biographies of Presidents George Washington and Ulysses Grant and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, had been asked to speak on freedom of the press at the black-tie affair in April.

The decision breaks with the association’s long-standing tradition of having a comic roast the president and the press at the dinner. Wolf angered Trump administration officials with her blistering routine last year, including her treatment of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who represented the president.

Still, Chernow, whose biography of Hamilton became the basis of “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical, is unlikely to go easy on Trump. In a video on Facebook before the 2016 election, he cited a long list of what disturbed him about Trump’s campaign, calling him a demagogue.

Wolf’s performance was not the first time comics at the dinner have riled their targets. Stephen Colbert, Wanda Sykes and Seth Meyers have spoken at the dinner and also had their detractors.

Although the dinner has become a high-profile event on Washington’s social calendar, it is primarily a fundraiser to earn money for college journalism scholarships, journalism awards and to pay for other programs sponsored by the WHCA, which represents journalists covering the White House.