Trump attendance and entertainer ID among open questions two months out from correspondents' dinner
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It’s one of D.C.'s most high-profile and high-stakes gigs, but with two months to go before this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner, there’s still no word on who will serve as the event’s entertainer.

Typically, the announcement of the famous face headlining the annual soiree comes months ahead of the springtime affair at the Washington Hilton. The 104th installment is poised to be held April 28.

“Unfortunately, we have nothing to announce yet,” WHCA executive director Steven Thomma told ITK on Tuesday when asked when this year’s headliner would be named.

In the 10 years leading up to 2017, the latest date a performer was announced was Feb. 20, 2013, when late-night host Conan O’Brien was named.


In other years, the Hollywood pro taking the reins at the not-so-affectionately dubbed “Nerd Prom” was revealed by mid-February, at the latest. 2011 and 2016 hosts Seth Meyers and Larry Wilmore were both publicly revealed the December before the dinner.

The WHCA announced the 2015 headliner, “Saturday Night Live’s” Cecily Strong, in November 2014, more than five months before she took the stage in the nation’s capital. The 2012 star, ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, was also named in November.  

But that all changed last year, when the annual dinner — which raises money for journalism scholarships — became a lightning rod in the Trump era.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE broke tradition when he announced last February, two months before the dinner, that he would forgo the event, becoming the first commander in chief since Ronald Reagan to do so. Trump, who has an often toxic relationship with the press, instead held a rally in Pennsylvania the same night as the Nerd Prom.

Hollywood stars, who typically attend the lawmaker-, journalist- and celebrity-infested evening, bailed en masse from the Washington gathering, and many news outlets that typically hold correspondents’ dinner-related shindigs canceled their own festivities.

As Washington buzzed about the fate of the dinner, the WHCA didn’t announce until two weeks ahead of its big night that it had chosen “The Daily Show’s” Hasan Minhaj as the night’s performer.

“He brings comedy chops, but he also brings heart,” then-WHCA President Jeff Mason said at the time.

For now, WHCA officials are remaining mum about who and what to expect at the 2018 dinner. And the White House didn’t return ITK’s request for comment about whether Trump plans to attend.

Well before Trump arrived in Washington, four-time Correspondents’ dinner headliner Jay Leno lamented about the tricky job of performing at Washington’s marquee event.

"Half of the audience sits like this,” Leno told ITK in 2014, as he crossed his arms, “and the other half laughs. And then when you do the Republican joke, they don’t laugh. It does seem to be a lot more partisan these days."