Sunday, April 30, 2017
Toned-down White House press dinner carries on without Trump
White House press corps gathered on Saturday for its annual black-tie dinner, a toned-down affair this year after Donald Trump snubbed the event, becoming the first incumbent U.S. president to bow out in 36 years.
Without Trump, who scheduled a rally instead to mark his 100th day in office, the usually celebrity-filled soiree hosted by the White House Correspondents' Association took a more sober turn, even as it pulled in top journalists and Washington insiders.
Most of Trump's administration also skipped the event in solidarity with the president, who has repeatedly accused the press of mistreatment. The president used his campaign-style gathering to again lambaste the media.
"I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away," he told a crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, calling out The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC by name.
In Washington, WHCA President Jeff Mason defended press freedom even as he acknowledged this year's dinner had a different feel, saying attempts to undermine the media was dangerous for democracy.