President Donald Trump plans to once again skip the White House Correspondents Dinner this year, and his reasoning is driving the media bananas.
“I call them novelists,” Trump said of journalists, according to Daily Caller White House correspondent Saagar Enjeti.
“I probably won’t do it”…”I sort of feel that the press is so bad,”….”It’s so fake, it’s so made up. I mean, ‘sources say’ and they have no sources. They’re like novelists. I call them novelists,” Enjeti quoted the president saying about the annual dinner.
Politico is reporting White House Correspondents’ Association President Margaret Talev said the president will send his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, to the dinner instead.
“The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year’s dinner but that he will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment,” Talev said in a statement on Friday.
“In keeping with tradition, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also will represent the administration at the head table,” she added.
Former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren tweeted on Trump’s decision not to go: “What does WHCA expect? They hire comedians who are not there to tell good hearted jokes and tease but to be mean spirited – to create buzz for media to then report. They did it to Clinton, Bush 43 etc.”
What does WHCA expect? They hire comedians who are not there to tell good hearted jokes and tease but to be mean spirited – to create buzz for media to then report. They did it to Clinton, Bush 43 etc. https://t.co/cSfxp17I6z
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) April 6, 2018
The Hill’s Joe Concha suggested Trump is likely to schedule a competing rally the night of the the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, as he did last year.
POTUS to skip the WH Correspondents Dinner again. Don't be surprised if a rally is planned that Saturday night at the same time. President did just that last year in Harrisburg in an effort to draw contrast between "elite" media (I attended so that's not a knock) & working folks. https://t.co/GVtbmqRP30
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) April 6, 2018
Washington Post columnist John Kelly pretty much justified Trump skipping the event with a response attacking the president’s intelligence.
“Trump says journalists make stuff up ‘like novelists.’ But they didn’t ask the obvious follow-up question: Name a novelist. Or a novel!” Kelly tweeted.
Trump says journalists make stuff up “like novelists.” But they didn’t ask the obvious follow-up question: Name a novelist. Or a novel! https://t.co/0x540SbJhH
— JohnKelly (@JohnKelly) April 6, 2018
CNN’s Jim Sciutto made it a point to push back on Trump’s assertion of “fake” news, although a recent Monmouth University poll shows that a majority of Americans agree with Trump that mainstream news outlets report “fake news,” with more than three in four saying they believe this to be true.
The @whca award winners this year @maggieNYT @jdawsey1 and my colleagues @carlbernstein @jaketapper @evanperez and I all reported stories the President falsely declared “fake news” https://t.co/hu9r0FE8Hh
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) April 6, 2018
CNN’s Brian Stelter also tweeted the news, marking quotes as if the decision is still up in the air:
The WH has told the correspondents association that Trump "does not plan to" attend this year's WHCD. Trump says "I probably won't." https://t.co/IUCBLDg75H
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 6, 2018
Former New York Times editor Quentin Hardy, now with Google Cloud, had a perfect response to Stelter:
Now if only everyone else will. It’s an awkward celebration of beltway insidership. https://t.co/AhQxw45Idx
— Quentin Hardy (@qhardy) April 6, 2018
Robert Schlesinger responded with a smarmy one word reply: “Good.”
— Robert Schlesinger (@rschles) April 6, 2018
Here’s a sampling of other responses from Twitter:
Literally the end of "our democracy"
— Rob Eno (@Robeno) April 6, 2018
You have to give @realDonaldTrump some credit here: His (deliberate) absence from the @whca dinner has prompted a course correction in what had become an embarrassing spectacle.#StephenColbert #WandaSykes etc etc https://t.co/nV2KMw3yaV
— PhilipTerzian (@PhilipTerzian) April 6, 2018
— SaintDeplorable (@findtruthalways) April 6, 2018
We agree! @realDonaldTrump No reason to attend that gossip mongers dinner, they can serve up and eat crow for all the hate and lies and propaganda they try to push. America is tired of the liberal hate they think is news. We don't watch and we turn the channel. https://t.co/Lg2lzdpj9n
— Loved & Imperfect🇺🇸† (@RayneNGrace) April 6, 2018
— Dawn 🇺🇸 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@LoveUSADawn) April 6, 2018
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