The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, also known as “nerd prom,” is fast approaching. But when the event celebrating the nation’s independent news media is held this Saturday, there will be one recognizable face missing in the crowd.
President Donald Trump will skip the WHCD for the third time of his presidency, diverging from the tradition held by presidents past.
“The dinner is boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally,” Trump told reporters in early April, when he first announced that he had declined the White House Correspondents’ Association’s invitation. “I like positive things.”
So what will he be doing instead? Holding a campaign rally.
For the past two years, Trump has done the same, holding rallies in Pennsylvania and Michigan. This year, the rally will be held in Wisconsin, another swing state that went to Trump in 2016. When speaking to reporters about the rally earlier in April, Trump explained that “everybody wants it” and that “it will be a big one.”
Interspersed with tweets about the rally he shared on Tuesday, Trump took to his favorite social media platform to deride the networks that will be in attendance at the WHCD.
On Twitter, Trump wondered whether “the New York Times will apologize to me a second time,” called Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s Morning Joe “Morning Psycho” and claimed he had “nosedived,” and said CNN has been “a proven and long term ratings and beyond disaster.”
“The Radical Left Democrats, together with their leaders in the Fake News Media, have gone totally insane!” Trump said in another tweet. “Sorry to say but @foxandfriends is by far the best of the morning political shows on television.”
Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, called the planned rally “epic” on Twitter, noting that it will be broadcast live so “millions can watch @realDonaldTrump instead of the boring WHCD. This dinner is almost worse than Hollywood’s endless self-serving award shows.”
Trump has also reportedly ordered members of his staff and administration not to attend the dinner. White House Cabinet Secretary Bill McGinley told staff and other members of the administration in a morning meeting on Tuesday that they would not be permitted to attend, according to Reuters.
Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, responded to the news, saying only that they’re “looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present, and future.”
The WHCD is an annual fundraising dinner held by White House Correspondents’ Association, which consists of journalists who cover the White House and the president.