Presidential historian Ron Chernow is keeping his lips sealed about what he has planned for next year’s White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner, but says he can guarantee one thing: It won’t be a snoozefest.

“I’m not going to preview,” Chernow said when ITK caught up with him recently in Washington. “But it won’t be dull, I promise you that.”


The Alexander Hamilton biographer — whose 2004 award-winning book inspired the mega-hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” — was announced last month as the surprise headliner of the 2019 WHCA dinner.

The move away from comedians, who traditionally serve as the entertainer at the lawmaker- and celebrity-filled fête, came after 2018 host Michelle Wolf ignited controversy with her explicit remarks targeting President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE and administration officials at the dinner earlier this year.

Some critics, including Wolf, blasted the WHCA for veering away from comedy at next year’s dinner, calling the organization “cowards.”

“The media is complicit,” Wolf wrote in a November tweet.

Asked about the reaction, Chernow said it was “an issue that I’ll avoid for the moment.”

“I think the response was generally favorable to my selection,” the Pulitzer Prize winner added.

Trump — who’s famously clashed with the press and has called the “fake news media” the “enemy of the people” — has bucked the tradition of the sitting president attending the event, which raises money for journalism scholarships. The commander in chief has skipped the dinner the past two years.

Chernow, 69, said he was both “surprised” and “delighted” to be tapped for the April 27 dinner. Anticipating it’ll be an “exciting event,” the author disclosed he has a “lot of ideas” about what he’ll say come time for "Nerd Prom." When he was announced as the headliner, Chernow said he was asked by the WHCA to "make the case for the First Amendment.” 

“As you know, it was the first time they ever asked a historian to deliver the speech. So I felt very honored, very flattered that I was the one they happened to ask,” Chernow said.

“I don’t know,” he added with a laugh, “maybe they mistook me for Lin-Manuel Miranda.”