President Trump is skipping this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner because he feels mistreated by the media. That’s what the Commander-in-Chief told Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning in a sit-down interview at the White House in advance of his 9 p.m. ET address to Congress tonight.
“I am not a hypocrite. I haven’t been treated properly,” Trump said of media coverage of the first few weeks of his presidency. Trump will be the first sitting President to miss the annual dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981 when he was recuperating after being shot by John Hinckley Jr.
“In light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things we’re talking about, I thought it would be inappropriate,” Trump told the anchor trio of Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade. “I have great respect for the press. I have great respect for reporters and the profession. I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do it.”
The April 29 event, a fundraiser for journalism scholarships awarded by the association, has been rocked by Trump’s hostile relations with much of the mainstream media establishment. Vanity Fair, Bloomberg News and other orgs have pulled out of long-planned parties around the WHCA dinner.
Trump also reiterated his belief that mainstream journalists have fabricated stories about him. “I believe a lot of the stories are made up. They’re pure fiction,” he said.
Trump complimented the “Fox and Friends” trio for treating him “very fairly.” He called himself “a friend” to the show, and he noted the frequency of his telephone interviews with the Fox News morning show over the years, suggesting that they played a role in his victory in November.
“Maybe without those call-ins, somebody else is sitting here,” he said.