Aide: Trump not elected to talk to celebrities and reporters

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Sunday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE’s announcement that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, saying the president was not elected to spend time with celebrities and reporters.

“This was a president who campaigned on speaking directly to Americans, and that’s exactly what he’s going to spend his time doing,” Sanders told ABC’s “This Week.”

Sanders said Trump was not elected to speak to celebrities and reporters. The annual dinner in Washington, D.C., features many Hollywood personalities in addition to journalists who cover the White House.

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Trump on Saturday announced that he would not be attending the dinner, a decision that came one day after the White House barred several news outlets from a question-and-answer briefing with press secretary Sean Spicer.

"I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!" Trump said Saturday.

Sanders said it would be “naive” to think the tension between the press and the administration would disappear on the night of the dinner.

“There’s no reason for him to go in and sit and pretend like this is going to be just another Saturday night,” she said.

She added that Trump would instead “focus on what to do to better Americans.”