White House Orders Administration Officials to Skip Correspondents’ Dinner

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House, in WashingtonTrump, Washington, USA - 14 Mar 2019
Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — The White House is ordering administration officials to skip this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner amid ongoing attacks by President Trump toward the news media, CNN and other news outlets reported on Tuesday.

Trump already announced that he would not attend the dinner and would instead hold a rally that evening, as he has done in years past. The rally will be held in Green Bay, Wis.

White House Cabinet Secretary Bill McGinley issued the order to boycott the dinner on Tuesday morning, according to CNN.

A White House spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Olivier Knox, SiriusXM’s chief Washington correspondent and the president of the WHCA, said in a statement in response, “We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present and future.”

Earlier on Tuesday, he said in an interview with Variety that he was not expecting a turnout from White House officials, given Trump’s travel plans. He noted that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders already said she would not attend the dinner. She will instead go on the president’s trip to Wisconsin.

Trump has skipped the past two WHCA dinners, bucking a tradition that had long seen the president address the press corps with a mix of humor and satire, and a few words of praise for the importance of journalists’ work.

Last year, Trump did send Sanders as his representative. But the comedian chosen to entertain at the event, Michelle Wolf, delivered a scathing monologue that attacked Sanders as she sat just down the dais. Some members of the WHCA were upset over Wolf’s jokes, and called for the event to be rethought.

This year, Knox chose historian Ron Chernow to give a speech instead of an entertainer. The event, which draws more than 2,000 people, has sold out, Knox said.