In a counter-programming twist, president Donald Trump has scheduled a Pennsylvania rally the same night as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
“Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!” he tweeted on Saturday.
Trump had previously announced that he would skip the annual event in Washington D.C., breaking a long tradition of the president dining with, and often getting roasted by, the media. The White House staff also will forgo the event.
The dinner, hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association, is set for April 29 at the Washington Hilton. Hasan Minhaj, correspondent for “The Daily Show,” will be the featured entertainer.
Jeff Mason, president of the WHCA, said in a statement, “We will be celebrating the First Amendment at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner next week, and we look forward to doing just that.”
Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017
As it turns out, the dinner is on the 100th day of Trump’s presidency, which has been a traditional benchmark for new presidents to outline their accomplishments. The dinner also could be taking place amid the drama of keeping the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, with deadlines kicking in on Friday night.
Trump will be the first president to miss the annual dinner since President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt, but still called in to the event.
Despite Trump’s absence, a number of organizations like the Creative Coalition, UTA, Reuters and CNN are going forward with their plans for WHCA events. Also planned for Saturday is a garden brunch, an annual tradition started by producer Tammy Haddad and media strategist Hilary Rosen.
Samantha Bee will bring her TBS show to Washington that weekend for a taping tied to the annual event.