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Donald Trump to Skip White House Correspondents’ Dinner Because ‘Press Is Dishonest’

April 13, 2016, 7:33 PM UTC
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Holds Rally In Mesa, Arizona
Photograph by Ralph Freso—Getty Images

Every year, members of the press gather in Washington, D.C. to watch a famous comedian and the President trade zingers. This year, the man likely to be the subject of a decent share of those barbs says he will not attend.

Donald Trump said Wednesday he will not go to this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, according to The Hill. The Republican presidential frontrunner said his attendance in recent years resulted in various unfavorable reports regarding his perceived inability to take a joke, so Trump will skip the dinner later this month, to be hosted by The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore, despite receiving numerous invitations from media groups.

“I was asked by every single group of media available to mankind [to attend this year]. But I’ve decided not to go,” Trump told The Hill. “Do you know why? I would have a good time and the press would say I look like I wasn’t having a good time.”

Throughout the current election season, Trump has had a stormy relationship with the press, with the Republican candidate making no secret of his disdain for journalists despite the fact that the media has often been identified as a major reason for the billionaire’s own political ascent.

In previous years, Trump had been the butt of any number of jokes at the dinner, particularly those poking at the real estate mogul’s relentless suggestions that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. as well as jokes about his time as host of reality show The Celebrity Apprentice.

Past news reports seized on what writers claimed was Trump’s embarrassment and/or displeasure stemming from those jokes. The New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik, describing the scene he witnessed at the dinner in 2011, wrote that “Trump’s humiliation was as absolute, and as visible, as any I have ever seen” after Obama skewered the former reality TV star over the infamous “birther” movement. The New York Times has even suggested that Trump’s own bid for the White House stems from the “humiliation” he suffered at the 2011 dinner and his desire to be taken more seriously.


For his part, Trump, who also attended last year’s dinner, argues that his reactions to jokes at his expense have been misconstrued by the very media hosting the event. “I had a great time. I was very honored by all of the attention. The President told joke after joke and it was good. They were all very nice and delivered nicely and I had a great time and told the press. For four years, I’ve read what a miserable time I had,” Trump told The Hill.

“The press is dishonest,” Trump also said, explaining again why he would skip an event that he claims he has enjoyed in the past and at which he claims he is such a desired attendee.