President Trump will once again ditch the White House Correspondents’ Dinner — electing instead to send press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to represent the administration.
“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,” White House Correspondents’ Association chief Margaret Talev said in a statement, The Hill reported.
“In keeping with tradition, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also will represent the administration at the head table,” Talev added about the April 28 dinner.
Trump, who was roasted by former President Barack Obama at the 2011 dinner, also skipped the event last year. But Talev said she was heartened by what could be an increase in the administration’s involvement this time around.
“The message underscoring it is one of participation this year, and I think that’s a good thing,” she said Friday, speaking at a symposium on the First Amendment at the National Press Club. “There is something a little bit different about their posture, the administration’s posture this year — the White House telling us that while the president himself doesn’t feel comfortable attending this year, he is going to actively encourage his Cabinet, his advisers, the executive branch who have received invitations to attend that dinner.”
The news broke on Friday morning as rumors flew in Washington, DC that the president might attend the dinner, which takes place on April 28.
Organizers for the dinner already picked comedian Michelle Wolf to entertain the guests, a contributor to the Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
In 2017, Trump turned down an invitation to the dinner and hosted a political rally in Pennsylvania instead.