White House staff to skip correspondents' dinner

White House staff to skip correspondents' dinner
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White House staff plan on skipping this year's White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner in "solidarity" with President Trump, who has announced he won't attend the annual event this year, the organization announced Tuesday evening.

WHCA President Jeff Mason said the organization's board "regrets this decision very much."

“We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and the administration that is a hallmark of a healthy republic," Mason said in a statement.

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Trump announced last month he would not appear at this year’s WHCA dinner, a break with past presidents.

"Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted at the time.

Organizers for the annual dinner said the April 29 event would proceed as planned, despite Trump's absence.

The event, which is used to honor journalists covering the White House and award scholarships to aspiring reporters, typically attracts a number of celebrities as well as many from media and politics.

The WHCA traditionally invites the president and members of their staff, with a comedian roasting the commander-in-chief before the president delivers light-heartened remarks.

Trump chose to skip the dinner last year while campaigning for the presidency, despite many invites from media to attend.

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBooker dismisses early surveys: 'If you're polling ahead right now, you should worry' Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy Mattis dodges toughest question MORE repeatedly mocked Trump as he sat in the audience at the dinner in 2011, which many have speculated fueled Trump's desire to enter the political arena.

The president last month refused to rule out attending future WHCA dinners, adding his absence at this year’s event is for the best.

“That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it next year,” he said during a Feb. 27 interview on Fox News. "But I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do it this year.”

Trump and other administration officials have repeatedly sparred with the media, labeling reports they dislike “fake news” and accusing outlets of biased coverage against them.