This year’s White House holiday party will be missing a few familiar faces.
While the event is typically a low-key opportunity for members of the media to mingle with the president and first lady and pose for photos with them, some have not been invited, while others are choosing simply not to attend. CNN falls into the second category, announcing Tuesday that the network will be boycotting this year’s holiday party that will be held on Friday.
A CNN spokesperson told Politico that CNN will not be attending this year’s White House Christmas party: “In light of the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests. We will send a White House reporting team to the event and report on it if news warrants.”
Trump’s relationship with the media and CNN in particular has been fraught since before the start of his presidency. However, the president reportedly struck a nerve in a tweet last Sunday, in which he accused CNN International of being a “major source of fake news” and of giving the world a poor representation of the U.S.
CNN hit back, with anchor Wolf Blitzer explaining that CNN’s journalists will never stop risking their lives to share the truth with its audience “because the relentless pursuit of the truth and the outright rejection of any attack against it is something we still hold sacred and always will. So no matter how many insults or blatant assaults on the press and its freedom, this pursuit is something for which we will never bend nor break. And even the loudest critics can’t silence the facts.”
Trump continued his offensive against the network on Monday, tweeting “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”
But his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, seemed quite pleased by the news that CNN would not be in attendance at Friday’s party. She tweeted: “Christmas comes early! Finally, good news from @CNN.”