President Donald Trump will attend this year’s Gridiron Club dinner on March 3, one of a number of annual events that gather members of the D.C. press corps with White House staffers and top politicos.
The event is smaller, more formal and less high-profile than the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, which is scheduled for April 28. The WHCA and the White House have not said whether Trump will attend that dinner, but there has been a lot of talk that he will attend after skipping it last year.
David Lightman, the president of the Gridiron Club, said in a note to members that “since its founding in 1885, the Gridiron Club has had a standing invitation to the President of the United States to attend our annual dinner, and President Trump is continuing a tradition dating back to our start.”
Trump also skipped the Gridiron dinner last year, and instead Vice President Mike Pence attended. As has been a tradition, Pence made jokes aimed at both sides of the aisle, including at himself. The evening also includes a comedy routine from members of both parties, along with speeches devoted to the importance of the press and the First Amendment.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump was planning to attend the Gridiron dinner, but she said that no decision has been made regarding the WHCA event.
The Gridiron Club is the oldest of all journalism organizations in Washington. This will be Trump’s first time headlining one of a number of press dinners held annually in D.C., so there is bound to be a lot of attention to how he interacts with a news media he has routinely labeled as publishing and reporting “fake news.”
In addition to the Gridiron and the WHCA events, the President also traditionally attends the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner.