In another break with precedent, President Trump is not only declining to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he won’t even be in the nation’s Capitol while it’s taking place.
Trump announced Saturday he will be holding a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to mark the first 100 days of his presidency on April 29. “Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!” Trump tweeted.
The night of April 29 also happens to be the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, an annual night of comedy that brings together the White House staff and the press that typically includes a satirical speech from the president. Since it was founded in 1921, the WHCD has hosted every President at least once. The last sitting president not to attend the dinner was Ronald Reagan, who phoned in after he was shot in 1981, according to NPR.
Trump announced back in February that he wouldn’t attend the dinner, but, until Saturday’s tweet, it was unclear what his alternative plans would be.
Jeff Mason, the President of the White House Correspondents’ Association and a reporter at Reuters, said this year’s dinner will be a celebration of the First Amendment regardless of Trump’s attendance. “We will be celebrating the First Amendment at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner next week, and we look forward to doing just that,” Mason said after Trump’s tweet, the New York Times reports.