Administration

Trump ‘inclined toward not going’ to correspondents’ dinner for fourth time

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President Trump said in a recent interview that he is “inclined toward not going” to this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner once again.

“I could change. I could change. If they treated this administration fairly, I’d change my mind,” Trump said, taking aim at the media in an interview with the New York Post published on Tuesday. “But they just can’t do it. You see the hostility.”

“They want me to go. I just feel that we’re treated very unfairly by the press,” the president added. “I don’t mind being, you know, treated properly where you do something wrong, they write that you did something wrong.”

“But like, for instance, with [coronavirus] testing, no matter what I do, they will say it’s not enough,” he continued.

If Trump forgoes this year’s “nerd prom,” it will be the fourth time he has skipped the annual WHCA dinner, making a new tradition of bucking an event that his predecessors have all attended. Instead of attending the event, which raises money for journalism scholarships, Trump has made a habit of holding campaign rallies on the same night.

Traditionally held in April, the WHCA event has been pushed back to August this year over coronavirus concerns.

Trump’s comments about testing come as his reelection campaign has started to promote advertising over his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic. There are more than 1 million cases of the virus in the U.S. and over 70,000 deaths.

In the Tuesday interview, Trump also addressed old speculation that his experience at the 2011 WHCA dinner, during which he was grilled by then-President Obama over his “birther” comments and fielded fiery jokes from comedian Seth Meyers, drove him to run for the presidency years later.

“And so, you know, they want me to go to the White House correspondents’ dinner, and I didn’t run because of that … Remember they all said [that]?” he told the paper. “When I ultimately announced, people say I announced because of that night. I’m going to get even — I didn’t even think of it. It’s so ridiculous. It’s just made-up fiction.”

“You know, it’s funny … that was many years ago now, that was probably 10 years ago with Obama. He treated me very nicely. You know, it was fun, but he treated me with respect,” Trump told the Post.

“Obama treated me, you know, very good,” he went on. “You know, it was fun. He had a picture of the White House saying ‘Trump house’ on it. … Next day, you wake up and you read these headlines, ‘Trump excoriated.’ ‘Trump had a miserable time.’”

However, Trump did not mince words when it came to what he thought about Meyers’s performance.

“Seth Meyers, he was nasty. Just one joke,” he said. “The guy’s got no talent whatsoever. Zero. How do these guys get jobs? I don’t get it. How does a Seth Meyers, how does [Stephen] Colbert — has no talent, there’s nothing funny about him, nothing funny.”

“You look at some of these people and you say, ‘How do they get a job?’ They are just so average. They are average people, they are average people,” Trump continued, adding: “He mispronounced words, he was nervous as hell, he couldn’t speak properly — that’s why I call him marble mouth.”

The Hill has reached out to the WHCA for comment on Trump’s remarks.

Tags Barack Obama Coronavirus Donald Trump Nerd Prom Seth Meyers WHCA WHCA dinner White House Correspondents Dinner White House Correspondents' Association
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