The White House Correspondents Assn. is continuing its annual dinner this year, an event that usually draws a collection of Hollywood celebrities, news media stars and the president of the United States.
But there are signs that the red carpet glow of the Obama years will be more muted in the age of President Trump, who, on his first day in office, said that he was at “war” with the media.
The New Yorker and Vanity Fair have each canceled their sponsorship of events surrounding the annual dinner, which is scheduled for April 29.
For years, the New Yorker hosted a cocktail reception on the night before the dinner at the W Hotel in Washington, but the outlet has decided to cancel those plans this year, a New Yorker spokeswoman confirmed.
No reason was given, but it comes amid heightened scrutiny over the press coverage of the Trump administration, which has almost daily attacked the media for what it considers unfair coverage.
Meanwhile, Vanity Fair has decided to end its co-sponsorship of a WHCA dinner after-party, one of the most exclusive events of the weekend. Graydon Carter, the editor of the magazine, told the New York Times that they have taken a break from the festivities in the past. Carter said that he would go fishing in Connecticut instead — but he also cited Trump as a reason.
A spokesman for Bloomberg LP, which in recent years has co-hosted the event, said that they are “proceeding with our plans for the party but no final decision has been made.”
Earlier this week, Samantha Bee, host of “Full Frontal” on TBS, announced that she would be holding an event, called Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, at the same time as the actual event. Noting that the press is “under attack” by the Trump administration, Bee told Variety that they may invite “unsung journalists.” Proceeds will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The actual dinner will go on, according to Jeff Mason, the president of the WHCA. He sent a letter to members on Thursday, telling them that “this year, as we do every year, we will celebrate the First Amendment and the role an independent press plays in a healthy republic.”
He added, “We will also reward some of the finest political reporting of the past year while using our scholarship program to highlight and support up-and-coming journalists who are the future of our profession.”
In previous years Larry Wilmore, Cecily Strong, Conan O’Brien and Seth Meyers have been the featured entertainment at the WHCA dinner — a high profile assignment that is also one of the more difficult gigs. Not only does the entertainer face instantaneous reviews and criticism from a room full of journalists and D.C. elite, but by tradition the comic follows the president. If Trump attends, they can also expect his post-event tweets.
The association has yet to announce who will be performing this year.