White House Correspondents' Association weighs changes to dinner format

White House Correspondents' Association weighs changes to dinner format
© Getty Images

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 TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE, Vice President Pence, Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpMelinda Gates tapped divorce lawyers in 2019 after Epstein links to husband: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot 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.