White House Correspondents' Association weighs changes to dinner format

White House Correspondents' Association weighs changes to dinner format
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The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) is gathering feedback and contemplating possible changes to its annual dinner following criticism about Saturday’s event. 

Olivier Knox, who will take over as the WHCA president this summer, told CNN on Monday that discussions are underway to address members’ concerns about the annual gala. 

“As somebody who has said for a very long time that the dinner should be ‘boring,’ that is to say focused on journalists and the work of good reporters, I am very open to suggestions about how to change it,” Knox told CNN’s Brian Stelter. 


Comedian Michelle Wolf caused an uproar in Washington after she delivered a searing 20-minute set that took aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE, Vice President Pence, Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpBiden pushes back on Trump: 'Crass' to go after political rival's children Lawyers for Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner threaten to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Trump slams Facebook, Twitter for limiting spread of New York Post's Biden story MORE, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the media, several Democratic politicians and others.

Trump labeled Wolf "filthy," and called for an end to the dinner, at least in its current form.

Several journalists, conservative commentators and ex-Trump administration members also criticized Wolf, arguing she had gone too far in her remarks about Sanders in particular. The WHCA issued a statement Sunday night that said Wolf's routine "was not in the spirit" of the group's mission.

Other media figures, however, have defended Wolf, arguing that she did what she was hired to do in roasting the current administration.

Knox, on Monday, did not appear to entertain the idea of getting rid of the event entirely, noting that it serves as a source of revenue for the WHCA. However, he said there is growing support for hosting an event that does not have an entertainer. 

“My goal is for the center of gravity of the dinner to be reporters — not the president, not the comic,” Knox said.

He added that the association has received feedback from many members, though there hasn’t been a formal survey to get feedback on the dinner.