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Trump Boycotts White House Correspondents’ Dinner | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House, Washington, Febraury 16, 2017 Washington / AFP

Washington – U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he will be skipping the White House correspondents’ dinner on April 29. The president tweeted his announcement on Saturday.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump said on his official account.

Ever since he entered the White House, Trump has had a confrontational relationship with the news media and has described several outlets as “fake news” and “enemy of the people”.

Earlier Friday, in a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump again complained against “dishonest” members of the media and what he calls “fake news.”

This year’s White House Correspondents’ Association president Jeff Mason said in a statement that the group has noted Trump’s announcement and is still looking forward to the April 29 dinner, “which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.”

Mason, who is Reuters’ reporter, noted that Trump is yet to be officially invited.

Trump has been a frequent guest of media organizations at the dinner in the past.

During the 2011 event, former President Barack Obama singled Trump out during the dinner several years ago, saying that Trump would turn the White House into a casino if he ever became President.

This came in response to Trump’s mockery of Obama’s place of birth and for raising doubts about whether the former president was actually born in the United States.

On Friday, CNN, The New York Times, Politico and several other major media outlets were blocked from attending a White House press briefing.

Traditionally, presidents make an appearance at the White House correspondents’ dinner. Trump will be the first to skip it since 1981 when Ronald Reagan missed the dinner after his assassination attempt. Reagan delivered his speech over the phone.