The yearly celebration of the first amendment and the amiable and necessary relationship between our government and our ‘fourth estate’ is set to be quite a bit different this year, namely because no one from the White House will actually be in attendance.
In “solidarity” with the President, the entirety of Trump’s staff and cabinet are to skip this year’s White House Correspondence Dinner. The unified opposition to the event was announced by the Trump administration on Tuesday, and leaves many staffers who already RSVP’d in a tough spot.
The statement was issued by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who said,
“The staff is standing in solidarity with the president, who has been treated unfairly. We hope, including the president, that things improve and we can attend next year.”
Donald Trump will be the first sitting president since the 1970s to skip the event. Though the White House Correspondents Dinner is mostly a vapid celebrity-studded event, the basic symbolism is important, this year more than ever.
The White House Correspondence Dinner is usually a fun, comedic event which in the past has featured President Obama showing the video of his birth (“Lion King” intro scene). That same year, 2011, Obama poked fun at Donald Trump who was sitting in the audience. Many speculate that this event was what spurred Trump’s presidential ambitions, and likely explains his planned absence from the event as POTUS.
Before the President announced his hair-washing plans for the April event, many esteemed press outlets indicated their reluctance to rub elbows with the press-disrespecting POTUS. Hoping to beat them to the punch, the President made it clear that he would not be attending, offering no reason for his absence.
Now that the White House has announced their “solidarity” with the POTUS, the Executive branch is making clear that they aren’t simply abstaining, but are doing so with strong convictions behind them.
This may be just a party the POTUS is missing, but in the context of the rest of his disrespect and slander of the media, it’s a clear message: I don’t need you.