×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Author Ron Chernow Will Speak at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

WASHINGTON — After fallout from the biting performance of comedian Michelle Wolf at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the organization is going in a different direction: Author and biographer Ron Chernow will be the featured speaker at the annual gathering of reporters and White House officials.

Olivier Knox, the chief Washington correspondent for SiriusXM and president of the WHCA, said that “as we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history.”

Knox had told the board during the summer that he was leaning against scheduling a comedian for the upcoming event, which will be held on April 27, 2019. Instead, with Chernow, the focus will be on history and the First Amendment.

Chernow, whose biography of Alexander Hamilton inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway sensation “Hamilton,”  has also penned biographies of John D. Rockefeller, George Washington and J.P. Morgan, and most recently, Ulysses S. Grant.

“Freedom of the press is always a timely subject, and this seems like the perfect moment to go back to basics,” Chernow said in a statement. “My major worry these days is that we Americans will forget who we are as a people and historians should serve as our chief custodians in preserving that rich storehouse of memory. While I have never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, I promise that my history lesson won’t be dry.”

The organization has grappled with whether to schedule a comedian at the upcoming event, as has been tradition. Last year, Wolf drew criticism for comments she made about Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the White House press secretary sat nearby on stage. That set in motion discussion on whether there should be major changes to the event, which usually sells out, by giving the evening a more serious focus.

The WHCA already had been giving more attention to the issue of press freedom at the event. President Donald Trump has not attended the dinner since he has been in office. In his place, the WHCA in 2017 invited Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to speak, and a year later Egyptian-American social activist Aya Hijazi shared her story.

Wolf tweeted a response to the news of Chernow’s selection instead of some kind of comic.

“The @whca are cowards. The media is complicit. And I couldn’t be prouder,” she wrote.

More Politics

  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

    Ryan Zinke to Resign as Interior Secretary

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will step down at the end of the year, amid a series of investigations that include conflict of interest. “Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years. Ryan [...]

  • Department of Justice

    DOJ: Gray TV-Raycom Media Merger Can Move Forward if Overlapping Stations Are Sold

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has given the go ahead to Gray Television’s $3.6 billion merger with Raycom Media on the condition that stations be sold in nine markets. The DOJ’s Antitrust Division said it had reached a settlement in which Gray would sell stations in the markets where they would otherwise own two or [...]

  • Mick Mulvaney Chief of Staff

    Mick Mulvaney Will Serve as Acting Chief of Staff, Trump Says

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Mick Mulvaney will serve as his acting chief of staff after the departure of John Kelly at the end of the year. Mulvaney is currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Trump has said he was talking to a number of candidates for the position, but [...]

  • Michael Cohen

    Michael Cohen: Trump Knew Hush Money Payments Were Wrong

    WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen claims that Donald Trump knew that hush money payments made to two women in advance of the 2016 election were wrong. Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” for his first interview since being sentenced to three years in prison, Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, said that when payments were being arranged for [...]

  • Trump Jim Acosta CNN White House

    The Gradual Disappearing Act of the White House Daily Press Briefing

    WASHINGTON — The Trump White House has dropped an event that used to be a prized invite for journalists and their families in D.C.: A holiday party for the media. But another tradition has been disappearing from the West Wing agenda as well: the daily press briefing. The regular televised afternoon back and forth between [...]

  • Nexstar Logo

    Nexstar Settles With Justice Department Over Sharing of Ad Information

    WASHINGTON — Nexstar Media Group, which recently announced plans to acquire Tribune Media and become the largest owner of TV stations in the country, has settled with the Justice Department as it investigates broadcasters’ sharing of competitive advertising rate information with rivals. Six other station groups, including Tribune Media, reached a settlement with the DOJ [...]

  • Donald Trump

    National Enquirer Parent Admits to Making Karen McDougal Payments to Help Trump in 2016 Election

    WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors said National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media, admitted that it made a $150,000 payment to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal “to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations” about Donald Trump in advance of the 2016 presidential election. AMI’s admission could bolster any case prosecutors make against Trump for violating [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content